June 7: Gregorius has officially been reinstated from the injured list, per an announcement from the Yankees. Estrada has indeed been optioned to Triple-A, while Tulowitzki was transferred to the 60-day injured list to open a 40-man spot. Tulo has already been on the 10-day injured list for more than 60 days, so his transfer is nothing more than a formality.
June 6, 9:54pm: The Yankees have optioned Estrada to make room for Gregorius on their 25-man roster, Hoch was among those to tweet.
7:39pm: The Yankees are expected to reinstate shortstop Didi Gregorius from the injured list tomorrow, writes MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. He’s sat out the entire season to this point as he recovers from last October’s Tommy John surgery. His activation will require a 40-man and 25-man roster move, as he’s currently on the 60-day injured list.
Gregorius has been well ahead of schedule on his rehab assignment. Original projections by the team specified merely that the Yankees hoped for a “summer” return, but he’s obviously on the very early end of even that broad range. Gregorius has already logged eight games of duty on a minor league rehab assignment, and while he’s batted only .156/.206/.250 through 34 plate appearances across a pair of minor league levels, the Yankees have clearly seen enough to feel confident in his ability to return.
The return of Gregorius will add a high-profile player to what has been somewhat of a patched-together infield. The Yankees’ offseason addition of DJ LeMahieu has proved to be a godsend, as he’s helped to cover the absences of not only Gregorius but Miguel Andujar and Troy Tulowitzki. With Gregorius back in the fold, he’ll see semi-regular action at shortstop, with Gleyber Torres splitting time at the two middle-infield spots and LeMahieu perhaps sliding over to third base. It’ll likely mean a decrease in playing time for the red-hot Gio Urshela, who has unexpectedly erupted with a .325/.371/.455 slash through 170 plate appearances (entering play today).
If there’s a member of the infield mix who appears particularly in jeopardy, it would appear to be Kendrys Morales, who hasn’t hit much since being acquired by the Yankees. Like the more productive Luke Voit, Morales is limited to first base when playing defense, thus limiting manager Aaron Boone’s infield flexibility. If Morales is pushed out by the return of Gregorius, that’d open up some additional at-bats for the mix of Voit, Gregorius, LeMahieu, Torres and Urshela as well. Alternatively, the Yankees could option Thairo Estrada back to Triple-A, keep Morales for the time being and move either Tulowitzki or Giancarlo Stanton from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list. Both have already been on the IL for more than 60 days anyhow.