With Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez sidelined with wrist and groin injuries, respectively, another Yankees slugger is dealing with an ailment of his own. Lindsey Adler of The Athletic reported Monday morning that Giancarlo Stanton was limited to being the designated hitter in the final two games in Boston because of tightness in his left hamstring.
From Adler’s piece:
“Stanton is dealing with tightness in his left hamstring and has had it wrapped up with ice after games Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. Presumably, with Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez already on the disabled list, Boone has not wanted to take the risk of losing his final power bat as any chance at winning the division to avoid the one-game wild-card berth slips further away.”
An injury to Stanton would explain the seemingly inexplicable use of Shane Robinson in two out of four games in Boston. With Judge injured and Tyler Wade on optional assignment in Triple-A, Robinson is the only available outfielder for the Yankees. Clint Frazier is in Tampa working his way back from post-concussion migraines, and the Yankees traded away options like Tyler Austin and Billy McKinney at the deadline. Another option would be Ronald Torreyes, who has 187 outfield innings (including 90.0 in center in 2014) combined between the minors and majors.
Neil Walker has played three innings of right field basically out of necessity for the Yankees, marking his first time outside of the infield in his professional career. Walker’s bat is clearly superior to Robinson’s, but the Yankees felt it was necessary to have a natural outfielder patrolling right at Fenway. Robinson went 0-for-4 with a walk and a sacrifice bunt in his two starts against the Red Sox.
The truth is that the Yankees don’t have much outfield depth left after the trades they made last week. Top prospect Estevan Florial is not MLB-ready, especially after missing seven weeks with a wrist injury. Ryan McBroom and Mark Payton are the other outfielders worth keeping an eye on at Triple-A, while Wade has started three consecutive games in the corner outfield in SWB as well.
Stanton likely will attempt to play through the soreness, especially with the aforementioned lack of power bats. But, it likely means we’ll see a lot more of Robinson in right field until Stanton is 100 percent.