Alarm bells were raised when Yankees slugger Edwin Encarnacion turned up with an oblique strain recently, as a significant version of that injury could easily spell a lengthy absence. But the progress has been so promising that the veteran says he believes he’ll return to the field of play in the next two weeks, as MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch covers on Twitter.
Encarnacion, 36, says that he’s “feeling better every day.” So long as he continues to ramp up, he ought to have a chance to pick up some plate appearances before the club wraps up play on the 29th. It doesn’t matter much to the Yanks whether they have Encarnacion’s bat in the lineup down the stretch, but the club will certainly hope to have him at full speed in the postseason.
The Yanks still have quite a few interesting potential roster questions to resolve before playoff action gets underway. Giancarlo Stanton joins Encarnacion as a rehabbing righty power bat, with a bevy of other possibilities for roster spots. And the team has a variety of hurlers — Luis Severino, Dellin Betances, Jordan Montgomery — trying to show they’re ready to roll, with other pitchers waiting in the wings.
One of those other key players, Betances, just had his first outing. As Hoch tweets, the power righty was not only happy with the outing — he struck out the two batters he faced — but how he feels the day after. Montgomery’s own season debut wasn’t quite so promising, as he gave up three earned in two innings. Both pitchers worked well below their previously established levels of fastball velocity. Severino will take the ball in the majors tomorrow for the first time this year.