The Yankees dropped a 2-1 decision to the Dodgers in L.A. on Saturday, but the game wasn’t without one historic highlight for New York fans. Aaron Judge’s solo home run in the fourth inning was the club’s 58th dinger in August–tying the record for most team home runs in a single month. Judge’s homer put the club even with the 1987 Orioles, who hit 58 home runs in 28 games, and the 1999 Mariners, who accomplished this feat in 27 games. The Yankees, of course, have only played 23 games so far this month and will have six more August games to carve out a singular place in the power-hitting record books.
Their chances of doing so would be much aided by the return of slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who has been out of action since fracturing his wrist on Aug. 3. As it turns out, Encarnacion has at least resumed some baseball activity, as James Wagner of the New York Times relays that the 1B/DH has begun taking ground balls and hitting off a tee (link). It’s obviously doubtful that Encarnacion will get back before September, but his return could just as well power another historic Bronx power binge in the season’s final month.
More from around the American League…
- T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com has several updates on injured Rangers players (link). In summary: Jesse Chavez may need season-ending elbow surgery, outfielder Hunter Pence will be sidelined for a few days with a back ailment, and, most notably, outfielder Joey Gallo is swinging a bat again in recovery from surgery to repair a broken hamate bone. “This is a tolerance thing,” manager Chris Woodward said. “If the pain is causing his swing to be off, I’m not going to play him. But he needs to play and finish the season, more for him than for us.” Gallo was experiencing his best season in the bigs before being waylaid by injury, as he increased his BB% to an Olympian 17.5% rate in 2019 en route to a .253/.389/.598 batting line (145 wRC+) through 70 games.
- Darren Wolfson of KSTP reports that Twins centerfielder Byron Buxton is set to head out on a rehab assignment, according to manager Rocco Baldelli (link). Buxton will report to the Cedar Rapids Kernels, a Midwest League affiliate with a strong case for the award for “Best Minor League Team Name”. There, Buxton will work to shake off rust resulting from his nearly month-long absence due to shoulder issues. At 77-51, the Twins sit 2.5 games up on the Indians for pole position in the AL Central, and the club would certainly benefit from the reintegration of both Buxton’s defense (10 DRS in 2019) and bat (110 wRC+ in 295 at-bats this year).