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Gardner back in Yankees lineup after missing 5 games

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Brett Gardner is back in the New York Yankees' lineup after missing five games because of soreness in his right knee.

The left fielder was the leadoff hitter for Friday night's game at Tampa Bay.

"He's been anxious to get back the last couple of days," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "Kind of our igniter, our heartbeat to a degree."

The Yankees also got good news regarding right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who went on the 10-day disabled list June 9 with a strain in both his right and left hamstrings.

Tanaka did long toss and threw at 60 feet on level ground Friday, and is set for his first bullpen session Sunday. If things go well, Tanaka would have another mound session Tuesday at the Yankees' spring training complex in Tampa and take part in a simulated game later in the week.

"Another step along the way," Boone said. "He's progressing well."

Gardner entered Friday hitting .258 with five homers, 21 RBIs and 42 runs scored in 59 games.

Giancarlo Stanton started in right field with Aaron Judge as the designated hitter.

Jacoby Ellsbury, out all season with a number of injuries including an oblique strain and sore back, still has not resumed baseball activities. The Yankees haven't completely ruled out Ellsbury playing this season but Boone had "no clue" when the outfielder might be back.

"We're trying to get him to the point to where he's back doing his baseball activities," Boone said. "He still to clear some hurdles."

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Updated June 22, 2018

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