There’s a “real chance” Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius will rejoin the Bombers during their June 7-9 series in Cleveland, manager Aaron Boone said Saturday (via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com). Gregorius, who has been working back from the Tommy John surgery he underwent on his right elbow last October, began a minor league rehab assignment last weekend.
Surprisingly, despite the absences of Gregorius and a slew of other integral players, the Yankees own the American League’s second-best record at 37-19. Gleyber Torres has stepped up to man shortstop in Gregorius’ place, while free-agent addition DJ LeMahieu has handled second base with aplomb and third bagger Gio Urshela has been one of the game’s unexpected success stories thus far. But the Yankees are understandably excited for the arrival of the 29-year-old Gregorius, who hit .277/.326/.486 (114 wRC+) with 52 home runs and 8.7 fWAR in 1,139 plate appearances from 2017-18.
Like Gregorius, outfielders Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have been among prominent wounded Yankees in 2019. They’re seemingly inching closer to comebacks, though, as George A. King III of the New York Post explains. Judge, out since April 21 thanks to a left oblique strain, has begun taking fly balls. And Stanton’s “probably getting close to starting that rehab assignment,” according to Boone. New York sent Stanton to the IL three games into the season with a left biceps strain, but he has since suffered multiple other left side injuries (shoulder, calf) that have halted his progress.
Judge and Stanton accounted for 65 home runs in 250 games a year ago, but their injuries have limited them to five HRs (all from Judge) in 23 contests in 2019. While the hulking sluggers are arguably the Yankees’ top two offensive players, the club has gotten by in the outfield with respectable performances from Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Cameron Maybin and Mike Tauchman. And although he hasn’t posted good numbers so far this season, it helps that New York recently got back center fielder Aaron Hicks. The Yankees activated Hicks off the IL on May 13 after he missed the first month and a half of the year because of lower back problems.