Giancarlo Stanton’s Yankees return timeline coming into focus

Giancarlo Stanton’s rehab assignment in his comeback from a strained left hamstring won’t begin this weekend, but Yankees manager Aaron Boone said the injury is improving after the outfielder/DH underwent scanning on Thursday.

“It is healing, kind of how we expected,’’ Boone said after the Yankees lost to the Orioles, 3-1, in The Bronx.

Boone said the injury is “almost” completely healed and the rehab assignment could begin “hopefully early next week.” Stanton has been out since April, as has third baseman Josh Donaldson, who has a strained right hamstring.

Donaldson began his rehab assignment on Thursday with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

He went 1-for-3 in six innings at third base.

This is Donaldson’s second rehab assignment since he went on the injured list in early April. The first one was cut short after Donaldson tweaked his hamstring.

This latest one is expected to last through the weekend at least before the Yankees reassess his status and decide whether he could join them on their upcoming trip, either in Seattle (Monday through Wednesday) or Los Angeles (Friday through Sunday).

Tommy Kahnle (biceps tendinitis) also had his rehab assignment transferred to SWB on Thursday, when the right-hander walked one in a scoreless inning in his third rehab outing.

He has been out since spring training and is expected to need at least one more rehab outing before the Yankees are ready to bring him back. The earliest he is eligible to come off the 60-day IL is Monday.

With Jose Trevino still out with a strained left hamstring, Ben Rortvedt got his second start at catcher since he was called up from SWB.

“He’s played really well,’’ Boone said prior to the game. “We’re pleased with how he’s integrated [with the pitching staff].”

Rortvedt walked in his only two plate appearances and was removed for another lefty swinger, pinch-hitter Jake Bauers, in the eighth.

Boone said Trevino was doing “pretty well” in his recovery and has begun running, although there’s no return date set.

Kyle Higashioka is in a 1-for-15 funk in which he has eight strikeouts, so it’s no surprise Rortvedt got a start. In his other start, at Cincinnati, Rortvedt had a pair of hits, including a double.

Carlos Rodon threw again Thursday, but there’s no known timetable for his Yankees debut.

Boone said the lefty, who had been sidelined with back discomfort after he suffered an elbow strain during spring training, could begin throwing off a mound this week, according to Boone.

More immediately, Randy Vasquez is expected to start Friday in what would be his MLB debut, filling in for the suspended Domingo German, who is scheduled to return to the rotation Monday in Seattle.

Boone said German, who is serving a 10-game ban for violating MLB’s sticky substance rules, threw a simulated game in Tampa on Wednesday.

Using Vasquez allows the Yankees to push Luis Severino back a day, with Gerrit Cole starting Sunday.

After the game, the Yankees optioned reliever Nick Ramirez to Triple-A to make room for Vazquez. Ramirez gave up a hit and committed a fielding error in one-third of an inning on Thursday.

The Yankees’ left field situation is as murky as ever.

Greg Allen was the fifth player to start in left in the team’s last seven games, along with Bauers, Aaron Hicks (who since has been since designated for assignment), Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Oswaldo Cabrera.

As for the Hicks move, team president Randy Levine said: “It shows Hal Steinbrenner listened to his baseball people and their recommendation. The priority is to put the best team on the field and taking care of the money, that’s my job.”

Hicks has yet to clear waivers to become a free agent, so it’s unclear where he might land.

“He’s not the first player that comes to New York and didn’t succeed as much as he would like to have succeeded and he won’t be the last,” said Levine.

Mayor Eric Adams was at Yankee Stadium on Thursday to introduce a law that will allow sports venues in New York City to conduct raffles for charitable purposes during professional or collegiate sporting competitions, including at the Stadium and Citi Field, as well as Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center. Levine said he hoped it would be enacted by July.

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