The Yankees are expected to reinstate Giancarlo Stanton, who has been on the shelf since late July due to tendinitis in his left Achilles, prior to tomorrow’s series opener in Oakland. Stanton was on the field going through a full pre-game routine yesterday, per ESPN’s Marly Rivera (Twitter link with video). The Yankees already announced following last night’s game that outfielder Estevan Florial has been optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, which seems to further set the stage for Stanton’s return.
Stanton, 32, has had a productive season at the plate in terms of power output and run production, belting 24 homers and plating 61 runs through just 324 trips to the plate. After an excellent first two months at the plate — Stanton hit .285/.339/.523 through the end of May — he’s been more of a pure “three true outcomes” slugger in the summer months of the season.
Since the calendar flipped to June, a whopping 56% of Stanton’s hits have been home runs (13 of 23). He’s batting just .167 in 40 games since June 1, but he’s still walking at a strong 13.1% clip and obviously flexing his power. Exactly half of his plate appearances have ended in a strikeout, walk or home run in that time. Stanton’s .167/.277/.471 slash dating back to June has dropped his season-long line to .228/.309/.498. That’s still 28% better than league average, per both wRC+ and OPS+, but the Yankees and Stanton alike will surely be hoping for a more balanced set of results when he returns.
Stanton will return to the lineup at a time when the Yankees’ offense has been stumbling through one of its driest spells of the year. The Yanks are just 7-14 this month and have plated only 70 runs in those 21 contests — an average of 3.33 runs per game (all while allowing 89 runs in August). They’ve been held to four or fewer runs in 13 of their past 15 contests.
Florial’s return to the big leagues will prove quite brief. There was optimism among Yankee fans when he was promoted on the heels of a .286/.368/.490 showing in Scranton, but he wound up starting just three games, going 1-for-9 with four strikeouts in that tiny sample. The former top prospect, like many Yankee farmhands in recent years, has yet to receive an earnest audition at the MLB level, receiving just 50 plate appearances over the past three seasons (and hitting just .186/.302/.300 in those sparse opportunities).
Stanton isn’t the only veteran reinforcement on the horizon for the Yanks, it should be noted. Lefty Zack Britton, who has yet to pitch in 2022 while rehabbing from last year’s Tommy John surgery, is set to embark on a minor league rehab assignment today, tweets Meredith Marakovits of the YES Network.
The 34-year-old lefty has been a vital part of the Yankees’ late-inning relief corps when healthy, logging 123 2/3 innings of 2.69 ERA ball while brandishing one of the game’s most notoriously devastating sinkers. It’ll take a bit of time for Britton to build up to readiness for a big league return, of course, but the commencement of a rehab assignment means that both he and injured closer Clay Holmes could return to the bullpen in the near future. If Holmes is back to form after a brief trip to the injured list, the Yankees can deploy two of the game’s premier sinker/grounder specialists to help lock things down late in games.