The Yankees finally put star slugger Giancarlo Stanton back into game action today, as he was in the lineup for the club’s High-A affiliate. That starts a 21-day rehab period. Meanwhile, Aaron Judge has begun playing catch, as Brendan Kuty of NJ.com was among those to cover.
Stanton has been sidelined since the first of April, when he was placed on the injured list with a biceps strain. It emerged recently that the the 29-year-old had also suffered a shoulder injury during the course of his rehab work.
In action tonight, Stanton launched a long ball and went down twice on strikes in three trips to the plate. That sort of showing is a familiar one for Yankees fans, who watched Stanton blast 38 home runs and strike out 211 times in 705 plate appearances last season.
Unfortunately, Stanton won’t come anywhere close to topping that career-high number of trips to the dish. He had been fully healthy in 2017 and 2018, but before that missed time with injuries in several campaigns.
The Yankees have cobbled together an all-time replacement roster, reeling off wins despite injuries to their three best outfielders and an array of other players. Aaron Hicks is back already, with Stanton now on the clock to do the same.
It’s less clear when Judge will finally be ready. He has yet to begin swinging the bat. While it’s encouraging that he feels good enough to pick up the ball, the very significance of that development is a reflection of the seriousness of his oblique strain.
With fill-in players now on the roster, those returning from the injured list will create some crunches. We already discussed the infield situation earlier this evening. Cameron Maybin and Clint Frazier have taken on unexpectedly significant roles, but could be pushed out of the lineup (and perhaps off the roster) when Stanton is ready. The veteran Maybin would need to be dropped from the 40-man if he becomes the odd man out; Frazier could be optioned. DH Kendrys Morales could certainly also be at risk, though the switch-hitter is one of only three active Yankees who swing from the left side.