The Yankees announced earlier today that third baseman Josh Donaldson had been placed on the 10-day IL with a right calf strain. In a corresponding move, infielder Oswald Peraza was recalled from Triple-A.
It’s been a difficult year of Donaldson, who missed nearly two months with a right hamstring strain and has struggled at the plate even when healthy, with a .142/.225/.434 slash line in 120 plate appearances, good for a wRC+ of just 75. Those brutal offense numbers don’t tell the whole story, as Donaldson has still managed to hit for power with an impressive .292 ISO and a whopping 19.7% barrel rate. Additionally, the veteran sports a microscopic BABIP of .076 that is surely contributing to his woeful batting average. While some of that can be explained by a career-low 7.9% line drive rate, it seems reasonable to expect that Donaldson’s performance would level out over time with more of his batted balls falling in for hits.
Unfortunately for Donaldson, any hopes of turning his season around will have to be put on hold for the foreseeable future as he heads to the shelf with a calf injury. A timetable for Donaldson’s return has not been made available, but the veteran infielder has dealt with calf issues previously in his career, including missing a month with a right calf strain in 2020 with the Twins and left calf issues that limited him to just sixteen games after the end of May in 2018.
Replacing Donaldson on the roster is Peraza, who entered the 2023 campaign as a top-50 prospect in the sport. In 12 games in the majors this season the 23 year old has managed a slash line of just .188/.316/.219, though he’s posted a much stronger .261/.352/.495 line in 45 games at the Triple-A level. Though he’s yet to receive an extended opportunity at the big league level, it’s possible that’s about to change, as Aaron Boone told reporters (including Chris Kirschner of The Athletic) that “there should be plenty of playing time for him” around the infield, with Peraza able to play both second and third base in addition to his natural position of shortstop.
In more positive injury news, GM Brian Cashman told MLBNetwork’s Jim Bowden on the radio today that star outfielder Aaron Judge is making progress in his rehab, with things “moving in the right direction” regarding both his hitting and his running. While no specific timetable for return was addressed, Cashman noted that the club will have a better idea of when Judge will be ready to return to action after the club’s current road trip, which is set to end on Friday.
The possibility of Judge nearing a return is phenomenal news for the Yankees, who have gone just 15-18 since losing the reigning AL MVP at the start of June. In 49 games this season, Judge has slashed a sensational .291/.404/.674 that’s good for a whopping 188 wRC+. With Judge on the shelf, the club is currently relying on the likes of Isiah-Kiner Falefa, Billy McKinney, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Franchy Cordero in the outfield corners with Giancarlo Stanton at DH and Harrison Bader in center field.