The injury-plagued-yet-first-place Yankees are about to get one of their key players back. Per manager Aaron Boone, shortstop Didi Gregorius (via is ready to return to the lineup and it'll happen Friday against the Indians. Gregorius, 29, has been on the injured list all season while recovering from offseason Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. 

Last season, Gregorius hit .268/.335/.494 (123 OPS+) with 23 doubles, five triples, 27 homers, 86 RBI, 89 runs and 10 steals in 134 games. His 4.2 WAR was the highest of his career. 

Gregorius will slide back into his customary shortstop position for at least several days a week. When he needs days off Gleyber Torres can handle it just as he has been doing all season. When Gregorius plays short, Torres would slide back to second base with Boone finding a way to juggle D.J. LeMahieu and Gio Urshela at third base. 

In eight minor-league rehab games, Gregorius has hit just .156/.206/.250, but the numbers aren't as important as working back into game shape and getting timing down. 

The Yankees enter Thursday 38-22 and with a 1 1/2 game lead in the AL East. They've lost three straight games after having won 20 of 25. 

Even when Gregorius comes back, the Yankees are still without Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Miguel Andujar, Greg Bird, Troy Tulowitzki, Luis Severino, Dellin Betances and more.