The Yankees shuffled their outfield mix today, optioning Oswaldo Cabrera and Franchy Cordero to the Triple-A while activating Greg Allen and Jake Bauers from the 10-day injured list. Bauers has been out since the beginning of the month with a rotator cuff contusion, while Allen has been on the shelf since early June with a strained right hip flexor.
The club is surely hoping the duo can help revitalize a beleaguered Yankees offense that has delivered a wRC+ of just 84 that ranks bottom four in the majors since star slugger Aaron Judge went on the injured list back in June. In 49 games this season, Bauers has slashed .224/.312/.470 with a solid wRC+ of 114 despite a strikeout rate nearing 30% thanks to a fantastic .246 ISO. Allen, meanwhile got into just 10 games with the Yankees before his trip to the IL. While he posted an excellent wRC+ of 138 during that limited time, a 41.2% strikeout rate and measly .162 xwOBA indicate that production is unsustainable. Nonetheless, Allen can nonetheless provide the Yankees with a switch-hitting outfielder with speed and quality defense off the bench.
The return of Bauers in particular could help provide the club’s lineup with a boost prior to the August 1 trade deadline, which is just over a week away. That being said, it goes without saying that the Yankees are going to need their $360MM man back to have any hope of turning around a season that’s seen them sink to fourth pace in the AL East despite a decent 52-47 record. To that end, the fans received good news today as Judge took live batting practice this morning from right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga, as relayed by MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. Judge had previously been reported as “close” to a return, but today’s exercise represents an additional step forward as he works his way back from the torn toe ligament that has kept him out of the lineup for nearly two months.
Loaisiga, himself, has been out for nearly three months since undergoing elbow surgery to remove a bone spur back in May. That he’s progressed to the point of facing live hitting represents a step forward in the rehab process for him, as well. The next step for Loaisiga appears to be a rehab assignment, which The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner relays could begin next weekend, per manager Aaron Boone. Despite the Yankees sporting an MLB-best bullpen ERA of 3.21 this season, a healthy and effective return from Loasigia, who sports a 3.04 ERA and 3.31 FIP in 145 innings of work since the beginning of the 2020 campaign, could provide a major boost to the Yankees down the stretch.