New York Yankees News/Rumors: What should we look for in tonight’s Yankee game in Atlanta? Injury updates

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge
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The New York Yankees are returning to play again tonight in Atlanta, after four idle days caused by the postponement of the weekend games against the New York Mets. The Mets had a player and crew member from their traveling party test positive for the coronavirus. The weekend games were postponed out of an abundance of caution. The Yankees, tonight, will face the Atlanta Braves that they swept at the Stadium just a few days ago.

While the Yankees were idle, several things changed in this everchanging baseball season.  While doing workouts at Yankees Stadium over the weekend, the Yankees regained first place in the AL East, when the Tampa Bay Rays lost a game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

A big change going into tonight’s game is the return of Aaron Judge to the Yankee lineup. Judge has been out since August 11 with a minor right calf strain.  Judge didn’t want to go on the 10 day IL, but manager Aaron Boone put him on it, to avoid him playing too soon and reinjuring the leg. Prior to Judge going on the IL, he had hit 9 home runs since July 29th, with 19 RBI’s.  Judge, who was hitting .290, will return to his number two spot in the lineup, behind either Aaron Hicks or Luke Voit.  Voit has been on a tear hitting five home runs in his last four games, for a team-leading 10 home runs. During a regular season that would equate to about 27 home runs at the halfway point.

Gerrit Cole will take the mound tonight in Atlanta for his seventh start of the season.  Presently he is 4-0, pitching 36 innings, allowing 11 runs with 44 strikeouts. Seven of those 11 runs were via the home run.  When the New York Yankees acquired Cole during the offseason, they were expecting big things from the prized righty, and he has lived up to his billing. Cole has not allowed more than three runs in a game this season. In his most recent start on Aug. 19 against Tampa Bay, Cole received no-decision after allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings with 10 strikeouts. Opponents are batting only .197 against the big right-hander. Cole has now not lost a game in the regular season since May 19, 2019. That’s 28 games without a loss, the streak is third-best in all of baseball history.

Other things to watch for tonight, is how Atlanta’s offense improves, now that their star player Ronald Acuna returns to the lineup tonight.  Acuna has been on the 10 day IL. He has been sidelined since Aug. 11 with left wrist inflammation. Also for the Braves, we may see the major league debut of much talked about pitching prospect Ian Anderson. He produced a 3.38 ERA and registered 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings while combining to make 26 starts for Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett last year.

It may not happen tonight or even tomorrow night, but the New York Yankee fans will soon see pitching prospect Miguel Yajure, who was called up by the Yankees last week. Even though Yajure never has pitched in Triple-A, and has just three games of Double-A experience, he owns very good numbers over his five minor-league seasons (2.47 ERA in 61 games, 54 starts), and had a tremendous 2019 season. Pitching for high-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton last year, he was 9-6 with a 2.14 ERA with 133 strikeouts and 30 walks in 138 2/3 innings over 24 outings, 20 as a starter.

New York Yankees injury status:

Aaron Judge returning from a calf injury will rejoin the lineup tonight.  DJ LeMahieu may return from a bruised thumb over the weekend, during the next Mets series. Relief pitcher Luis Avilan may also return during the Mets series.  Zack Britton and Kyle Higashioka will most likely be available during the next Rays series that follows the Mets series.  Gleyber Torres should be back by Sept. 5th, although that outlook might be optimistic.  James Paxton will not be back before Sept. 12th.  Tommy Kahnle and Luis Severino are out for the remainder of the season. Giancarlo Stanton’s status is not as clear, he will not return for at least another week. He is healing from a hamstring injury. The Yankees are hopeful that they won’t have to deal with more injuries during the remaining month of the regular season.