Kyle Higashioka to start, Gary Sanchez to sit for Yankees in AL wild-c…

Kyle Higashioka to start, Gary Sanchez to sit for Yankees in AL wild-c…

BOSTON – Kyle Higashioka, to the surprise of no one, will start behind the plate Tuesday night in the AL wild-card game.

Not a surprise given that Higashioka has more or less been Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher dating back to last season.

But Aaron Boone indicated the player Higashioka is starting in place of – Gary Sanchez – isn’t likely to be in Tuesday’s lineup at designated hitter, either, come Tuesday night, with that slot in all probability being occupied by Giancarlo Stanton.

“Probably a bat off of the bench,” Boone said Monday of Sanchez.

If Sanchez had been more consistent offensively this season, he might have had a chance to be in the lineup. But with Boone likely to go with an outfield of Joey Gallo, Brett Gardner and Aaron estimate – from left to right – and Giancarlo Stanton’s performance the last two months, that leaves Sanchez, who hit .204 with 23 homers and a .730 OPS in 117 games, as the strange man out.

Higashioka, of course, caught five of the Yankees’ seven postseason games last year and it is unclear how the catching duties will be parceled out if the Bombers improvement to the best-of-five Division Series, slated to start Thursday night in St. Petersburg, Fla. against the top-seeded Rays.

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Urshela OK

Aaron Boone said expects infielder Gio Urshela, who took an ugly spill into the Rays dugout Sunday after running complete speed to catch an Austin Meadows foul pop, to be in the lineup Tuesday.

“I think he’s going to be good,” Boone said. “He [was] truly getting some treatment about an hour and a half ago back at the hotel and I saw him at brunch this morning. He was a little stiff but truly felt pretty good. I think if there was a game today, he’d be playing. Again, I think we got incredibly fortunate in that situation.”

Big Boston bat a question

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said a decision wouldn’t be made regarding the availability of J.D. Martinez, who suffered a fluke left ankle injury Sunday when he tripped over second base, until Tuesday morning.

“Let’s see how he reacts to treatment and everything that they are doing to him in there,” Cora said. “We don’t know in addition.”

The absence of Martinez, who hit .286 with 28 homers and a league-leading 42 doubles, from the Red Sox lineup, could assistance the Yankees, clearly, though Cole isn’t looking at it that way.

“J.D. is a pretty big-time slugger, and seems like a pretty resilient individual based on the career path to get to being a big-time slugger in a big-time market,” Cole said. “I average, he’s got some magic and he’s got a lot of talent, and so in situations like that, I think you have just got to try to stay vigilant and execute the pitches to the best of your ability.”

additional bases

Boone said the Yankees had not in addition settled on a lineup but indicated second baseman Gleyber Torres “probably” will hit leadoff . . . Both teams’ workouts were canceled Monday because of daylong rain that required the tarp to be on the field at Fenway. The forecast called for rain throughout the night and into the late morning, with the weather supposed to clear well in improvement of first-pitch, scheduled for just after 8 p.m.

Newsday columnist Erik Boland

Erik Boland started in Newsday’s sports department in 2002. He covered high school and college sports, then shifted to the Jets beat. He has covered the Yankees since 2009.

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