Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo provides update on injured back

Alexander Wilson
anthony rizzo, yankees
Jul 29, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo (48) walks off the field after a rain delay is called after the bottom of the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are being extremely careful and cautious with first baseman Anthony Rizzo who has been dealing with a lower back injury.

Rizzo has had the same issue for years, dating back to his time with the Chicago Cubs. However, load management is necessary during a long season that has asked a lot of the 33-year-old infielder. Playing in 98 games this year, manager Aaron Boone is giving him a few days to rest and take care of his lower back, hoping for a return this week.

On Sunday, Rizzo provided an update and the frustration that comes with waiting for his recovery. He makes a good point in that the injury could happen later on in the season, so dealing with it now and recovering before elimination games begin is a glass-half-full mentality.

“We’ll try to just be smart,’’ Rizzo said. “It’s frustrating [to sit out], whether you’re winning or losing. It sucks. It’s part of baseball. It’s better now than later [in the season].”

Manager Aaron Boone echoed that sentiment, indicating he will be out for a few more days.

“I think last time he knew it was very similar to what he’s had sometimes in the past, where he knew it was going to be a few days,” Boone said after Rizzo was ruled out three days ago. “He didn’t seem to think that was the case when he came in right before.”

The Yankees have gotten the best version of Rizzo this year:

Rizzo has been a catalyst for the Yankees on offense this season, recording a .227 average with a 35% on-base rate and .511 slugging percentage. He’s already hit 27 homers this year, well on his way to breaking his personal record of 32. He’s also tallied 66 RBIs with a 42.9% hard-hit rate and 11.8% barrel rate, the two best numbers of his career.

Posting a 50.2% flyball rate and 19.3% HR/FB ratio, it is no surprise that Rizzo is providing more power and smashing more homers.

In fact, Rizzo hit .257 with a 39.5% on-base rate with four homers and 11 RBIs in the month of June. His offense is essential to the Yankees’ batting order, and while the team did post nine runs on Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals, the pitching has been their primary inconsistency.

Nonetheless, the injury to Rizzo doesn’t seem to be a long-term problem, indicating the Yankees should get him back in the lineup within a few days.