The Yankees announced a series of roster moves today, with outfielder Andrew Benintendi heading to the 10-day injured list with right wrist inflammation. Outfielder Estevan Florial was recalled in a corresponding move. Additionally, right-hander Ryan Weber has been selected to the big league club, with lefty Anthony Banda designated for assignment.
Benintendi, 28, left last night’s game after appearing to injure himself on a swing. Last night’s X-rays came back negative, but it seems the ailment is enough that the Yanks will keep him out of action for another ten days at least, as they try to figure out what’s going on. “Just not sure, like, where we thought, may not be injured,” Boone says in the video shared by Marly Rivera of ESPN. “So, they got to get more CT scans. I just got briefed on it a little bit so I really don’t have much for you other than he is going on the IL but it’s a little inconclusive right now exactly what.”
Given that uncertainty, it’s hard to know exactly how serious this will be for the Yankees. However, even a minimum absence could have an impact in this late stage of the season, as there are just over four weeks remaining on the regular season schedule. Acquired from the Royals prior to the trade deadline, Benintendi is having a solid season at the plate, one of his best showings in years. His .302/.371/.397 battling is 21% better than the league average hitter this year, as evidenced by his 121 wRC+. That’s just shy of his career best in that department, as he registered a 123 wRC+ back in 2018.
The Yanks will have to do without his production for at least the next week and a half, with the results of the continued testing still to determine the next steps. Until then, they will have to get by with an outfield mix consisting of Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Cabrera, Marwin Gonzalez, Tim Locastro and Florial. Giancarlo Stanton could theoretically be a factor as well, though he’s been used exclusively in the designated hitter role since returning from his own IL stint. Despite running away with the AL East for much of the season, the club has been in a rough slide lately, seeing their lead over the Rays slip to just five games. They would surely love for someone in that group to step up and make up for Benintendi’s absence in order to help keep them in the driver’s seat down the stretch.
Banda, 29, previously pitched for the Pirates and Blue Jays earlier this year, in addition to a brief stint in the minors for the Mariners. He signed with the Yankees on Sunday and made two appearances in pinstripes. The first one went well enough, as Banda entered the club’s game against Oakland on Sunday with one out and no one on in the fifth. He surrendered a walk sandwiched between two outs to finish the inning. His second appearance came last night and didn’t go nearly as well. With the Yanks down 5-0 to the Rays in the eighth, Banda entered with two men on and faced six batters, walking three of them, hitting another and giving up two singles. That leaves with a 40.50 ERA through two thirds of an inning as a Yankee, though a 6.75 ERA on the season overall. Despite that unfortunate ERA, he does have a career-high 22.2% strikeout rate on the year. The Yankees will place him on outright waivers or release waivers in the coming days, though Banda would have the right to reject an outright assignment in favor of free agency, by virtue of having been previously outrighted in his career.
As for Weber, 32, he’s bounced on and off New York’s roster all year long, generally faring well in brief stints with the big league club. He was first selected in June but was designated for assignment the next day. He cleared waivers, elected free agency and re-signed with the club on a new minor league deal. That same cycle happened two more times, making today the fourth time he’s been selected to the roster, never staying in the majors more than about a week. He has a 1.17 ERA in 7 2/3 innings over those sporadic showings, in addition to a 3.86 ERA in Triple-A for the year. His control has been excellent at both levels, as he has a 3.8% walk rate in the bigs and a 3.0% rate in the minors, much lower than the 9.1% average for an MLB reliever this year.
Lindsey Adler of The Athletic tweeted word from Boone about Benintendi’s IL placement before the moves were officially announced. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com relayed the Banda-Weber swap before the official announcement.