With Another Slew of Injuries, the Yankees Aren’t Taking Chances


Stop us if you’ve heard this before: The Yankees have one of the best records in Major League Baseball despite missing several star players to injury.

No, this is not 2019, when the Yankees endured a nightmarish run of setbacks and sent a major-league record 30 players to the injured list. But this season has certainly felt eerily similar in the Bronx.

In the span of eight days, the Yankees placed three of their best players — outfielders Giancarlo Stanton (left hamstring strain) and Aaron Judge (right calf strain), and infielder D.J. LeMahieu — on the 10-day injured list. LeMahieu, who was hitting an American League-leading .411, was the latest casualty, exiting Saturday’s game against the Boston Red Sox with a left thumb sprain.

Losing three All-Star-caliber players at once is painful enough during a traditional 162-game regular season. But in this pandemic-shortened 60-game campaign, a minimum stint on the 10-day injured list is the equivalent of missing 27 days in a normal year.

Still, Stanton hurt his leg while running the bases on Aug. 8, during the same seven-inning doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays in which Judge began feeling tightness in his calf. Stanton said his body was having trouble catching up to the rigors of playing regularly after being absent for so much of the past few seasons.

“Words can’t really describe the disappointment I’ve had over this,” said Stanton, who is in the middle of a three- to four-week recovery. “I can’t dwell on it. I have to see what’s in front of me and that’s still a decent amount of the season and playoffs left. Though I was in this situation before, it seems unreal at times.”

On the bright side for the Yankees, their star closer, Aroldis Chapman, who tested positive for the coronavirus on July 11, was added to the active roster before Monday’s game against the Red Sox.

LeMahieu, the Yankees’ best all-around player last season, could miss about two to three weeks, Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said on Monday. In 2018, LeMahieu missed two weeks with a similar left thumb sprain and a small fracture. This time, Boone said, there were no broken bones.

And Judge, who planned to resume batting practice on Monday after a few days off, said he expected to come off the I.L. as soon as he was eligible on Saturday, against the Mets.

Judge, who leads the Yankees with nine home runs, said he begged the team’s doctors, trainers and Boone not to place him on the I.L. He felt he needed only a handful of days off to recover from tightness in his calves, which he believed arose from playing against the Rays on the artificial turf at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. On Sunday, Judge declared that he was at 100 percent and felt like he could have played in a game that day.

Boone, though, said the decision to place Judge on the I.L. was easy because he did not want a soft tissue injury to become a larger problem. Judge said multiple times on Sunday that he was frustrated, but he clarified it wasn’t directed at the team.


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