9:30pm: While the team announced Stanton’s injury as a calf strain, Boone told reporters tonight that the former NL MVP is actually dealing with ankle inflammation (via Lindsey Adler of the Athletic). The hope is that Stanton can return after a minimal IL stay.
5:47pm: The Yankees announced a series of moves before tonight’s matchup with the Orioles. Most notably, designated hitter/right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is headed to the 10-day injured list because of a right calf strain. New York also placed reliever Jonathan Loáisiga on the 15-day IL and designated catcher Rob Brantly for assignment. In corresponding moves, the Yankees welcomed Joey Gallo back from the COVID-19 injured list. They also recalled relievers JP Sears and David McKay from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Stanton has been one of the best hitters for the AL-leading Yankees. He’s mashing at a .285/.339/.523 clip, and his 11 home runs tie him for fifth in MLB. The big slugger has a personal-low 8.3% walk rate, but he’s doing more than enough damage on contact to offset the corresponding drop in his on-base percentage. Stanton has been an instrumental piece of a lineup that has been among the league’s best. Aaron Judge is playing at an MVP-type pace through the season’s first month and a half, with Stanton and Anthony Rizzo also offering middle-of-the-order caliber production.
Unfortunately, Stanton is also no stranger to the injured list. He’s landed on the IL because of leg issues in each of the past four years. Stanton missed a significant chunk of the 2019 campaign because of a right knee sprain, then lost more than half of the shortened 2020 season with a left hamstring strain. The 32-year-old had a more minor IL stint due to a left quad strain last year, and he’ll obviously miss some time with his current malady. A timetable remains unclear, but manager Aaron Boone informed reporters last night (via Joel Sherman of the New York Post) that he was headed for an MRI after leaving yesterday’s game with calf tightness.
The Yankees have been hit hard by injuries in recent days. New York lost pitchers Chad Green and Luis Gil to Tommy John procedures over the weekend. Closer Aroldis Chapman hit the IL with Achilles tendinitis yesterday, and Boone told reporters this afternoon that Loáisiga was going on the IL with shoulder discomfort. The team’s official diagnosis for Loáisiga is shoulder inflammation.
New York welcomes Gallo back to the lineup a few days after he landed on the virus list. The power-hitting outfielder hit the IL on Sunday as part of a trio of Yankees suffering flu-like symptoms, but he and Kyle Higashioka have returned quickly. Gallo is capable of suiting up in either corner outfield spot but is struggling this season, owning just a .176/.294/.333 line through 119 plate appearances.
Brantly was selected onto the 40-man roster once Higashioka went out to offer some catching depth behind Jose Trevino. With Higahioka now back, Brantly loses his roster spot after appearing in one game. The 32-year-old has seen brief action at the big league level in each of the last four years, but he’s not tallied more than 40 MLB plate appearances in a season since 2013. He’ll have the right to refuse an outright assignment in favor of minor league free agency if he passes through waivers unclaimed.