Yankees 1B Anthony Rizzo inching closer to return after extra-innings win in Fenway

Alexander Wilson
anthony rizzo, new york yankees
Aug 30, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo (48) celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the second inning as Los Angeles Angels catcher Max Stassi (33) wqtches at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are currently riding a three-game winning streak, emerging victorious in seven of their last nine games. This is exactly what the squad needed to find their groove, an explosion of offensive production. They’ve scored 27 runs in their last three games combined, just barely squeaking by the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday in extra innings, courtesy of two solo homers from Aaron Judge.

However, as the team continues to win, they’re also excited about the return of several players who will add plenty of production and value to the batting order.

Notably, both DJ LeMahieu and Anthony Rizzo are working their way back slowly, with Rizzo expected to make a return either against Milwaukee over the weekend or against Pittsburgh when the team travels back to the Bronx.

The Yankees are inching Rizzo back to return:

Recently, Rizzo received a blood patch to help stifle headaches caused by an epidural to treat his lower back injury. Rizzo hasn’t played since August 30, giving him a few weeks to recover. This past week he spent resting with little movement.

“It was weird, getting the blood patch, it sounds a lot scarier than the terminology,” Rizzo said prior to Tuesday’s game. “It was just weird because you didn’t know what was going on. Every time you stand up you get a massive headache. Just laying down for a week straight, basically on bed rest, was not fun.”

Luckily, Rizzo is feeling great once again as the headaches have subsided, and his back pain isn’t bothering him as much. The veteran first baseman took a few swings during batting practice and should be ramping up within the next few days.

“Feel good. Swung today a little bit so just progressing,” Rizzo added. “Hopefully, next series or the Pittsburgh series. … I was at Yankee Stadium this morning working there. Threw on the field today. Didn’t run outside but ran inside. Now it’s just progressing.”

Manager Aaron Boone was a bit more cautious about Rizzo’s return following serious headaches and a back injury that’s been plauging him for years. With the team winning baseball games, they may give him a few extra days off to ensure he’s 100% ready for the playoffs.

“We’ll see,” Boone said when asked whether Rizzo could be back as early as this weekend. “The great thing is he’s feeling really good. But with the amount of down time, we want to make sure he gets ramped up properly. I know he took a couple of swings off the tee today, played catch, moved around some more. I think he’s going to run and hit in the cage tomorrow, so we’re moving in a really good direction. What the time frame is, whether it’s at some point in the Milwaukee series or when we get back, we’ll just have to see.

Anthony Rizzo has had a good season for the Yankees:

This season, Rizzo is hitting .225 with a 34% on-base rate and a .493 slugging percentage. He’s hit 30 homers with 71 RBIs, an 11.2% walk rate, and a 19% strikeout rate. This is the highest strikeout rate of Rizzo‘s career, but he’s being more aggressive in the batter’s box, just two homers away from reaching his career high. He also hosts a 136 wRC+ plus, indicating he’s 36% better than the average MLB player.

Defensively, Rizzo features a .996 fielding percentage with four errors over 919.1 innings. He’s been solid defensively this season and provides plenty of value with his bat, meaning the Yankees will hopefully improve upon his return.