Ryan Howard ditches protective boot, cleared for workouts

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Ryan Howard took a big step in his recovery from a torn Achilles’ tendon today, as doctors cleared him to stop wearing a protective boot and start working out.

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Howard’s first post-boot workout involved fielding ground balls at first base while sitting on a stool, so he’s obviously still nowhere near being game ready at this point.

Howard’s timetable was pushed back because of an infection months after the surgery, leading to speculation that he’ll miss all of April and most of May at the very least. Jimmy Rollins even expressed some doubt about the slugging first baseman playing at all this season, but barring more setbacks June seems like a reasonable target date.

Gary Sanchez likely headed to disabled list

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Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez exited Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rays in the 10th inning due to a hip/groin issue. Manager Aaron Boone said Sanchez is likely headed to the 10-day disabled list, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.

Sanchez went 0-for-4 with a walk before departing. He appeared to suffer the injury running to first base when he grounded into a 6-4-3 double play in the 10th inning. On the season, Sanchez is batting .190/.291/.433 with 14 home runs, 41 RBI, and 36 runs scored in 265 plate appearances.

Austin Romine replaced Sanchez in the 10th inning and will handle the bulk of the catching responsibilities while Sanchez is out.