Didi Gregorius is projected to return to the New York Yankees next month, a faster recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery than expected.

Gregorius is scheduled to play shortstop on Monday at extended spring training in Tampa, Fla., his first game action since surgery on Oct. 17 to replace a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Manager Aaron Boone does not expect Gregorius will need the equivalent of a full spring training, which is about six weeks.

Gregorius hit .268 with a career-high 27 homers and 86 RBI last season. He injured the elbow while making a throw from left field after a ball bounced off Fenway Park's Green Monster during Game 2 of the American League Division Series at Boston last Oct. 6. When the Yankees revealed the injury six days later, general manager Brian Cashman would specify only "sometime next summer" for Gregorius' return.

Gregorius' timetable will be easier to project once he starts a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment, which has a 20-day maximum. New York's plan for him indicates a June return.

Rangers reliever has biopsy

Texas Rangers reliever Shawn Kelley was ready to start pitching again while waiting for the results of a biopsy on two lumps that were surgically removed from his throat.

Kelley said doctors took out a couple of "decent-sized" lumps on Thursday after an initial biopsy before the surgery was inconclusive.

The 35-year-old right-hander expects to get the results from the latest biopsy early next week.

Kelley, who doesn't use any kind of tobacco, said he noticed the issue early this season. He had the lumps checked this month after they got bigger and bothersome while trying to sleep.

Greinke on track to return

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke is on track to make his next scheduled start Tuesday at San Diego after throwing a bullpen session before Saturday's game, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.

Greinke felt pain in his side and was diagnosed with abdominal tightness during the eighth inning of his start Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He motioned for a trainer and left the game.

An MRI on Friday revealed no damage.

Braves release Venters

Jonny Venters, the left-hander whose comeback from his third Tommy John surgery helped him win the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award last year, was released by the Atlanta Braves.

Venters, 34, had a 17.36 ERA after giving up nine earned runs in 4 2/3 innings covering nine appearances.