The New York Yankees have been without starting first baseman Anthony Rizzo the last few days. He’s been dealing with a lower back injury that has plagued him for years, forcing him to miss a few games this season.
Rizzo wasn’t able to go through any of his pregame requirements, moving gingerly due to the lasting issue. The Yankees do expect Rizzo to be fine for the rest of the season and playoffs, but giving him some load management days makes sense as the Yankees approach an important stretch to maintain their lead in the AL East.
However, it was bad timing since Rizzo has hit homers in consecutive games, finally breaking a stretch of nine games without a long ball.
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Rizzo stayed back in California after the Yankees lost a series to the Los Angeles Angels. He was preparing to receive an injection, according to manager Aaron Boone.
“There’s a chance that he could get an injection and probably miss this Tampa series, potentially,” Boone said.
Despite the dismal news, Boone did indicate that the prognosis is more positive than before regarding his back.
“The prognosis is really good for him,” Boone said. “He had an a MRI about a week or 10 days ago, which, structurally speaking, looked better than it did in spring training.”
The Yankees can’t afford to lose Anthony Rizzo:
The Yankees need Rizzo back desperately moving forward, considering he’s hitting .225 with a 34% on-base rate, 30 homers and 71 RBIs. He’s only three homers away from breaking his personal best of 32, a number he’s reached three times in his career. He also features a 19% strikeout rate, 11.2% walk rate, 41.8% hard-hit rate, and 11.5% barrel rate, which are career-bests.
Defensively, he’s been solid for the Yankees this season, recording a .996 fielding percentage with four errors over 919.1 innings. After locking him down on a two-year, $32 million deal with an opt-out after this season, the Yankees can feel good about the first base position moving forward.
At the very least, they have Rizzo under contract for one more season before they have to make another move, but it is possible they save the $16 million in annual salary, reallocating it elsewhere. Specifically, they could look to DJ LeMahieu as their starting first baseman moving forward, injecting more youth into the infield with Oswald Peraza and Oswaldo Cabrera.