Prior to the start of Tuesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Yankees scratched starting first basemen Anthony Rizzo from the lineup. Out of nowhere, Rizzo was dealing with a stiff lower back.
Rizzo has dealt with back issues throughout his career, notably with the Chicago Cubs. It hasn’t been much of an issue with the Yankees, but mainly because they’ve been treating it properly.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to tough it out on Tuesday with his team losing 5–2. Rizzo’s absence wasn’t the difference-maker, as DJ LeMahieu stepped up valiantly at first base and designated hitter Matt Carpenter had himself a quality game in the batter’s box.
“He just couldn’t get loose,” Aaron Boone said of Rizzo. “He was hoping with all the work he was doing it would free him up a little bit, and it didn’t happen.”
The injury isn’t expected to be serious, so he could be back in the lineup as soon as Wednesday night in the final game of a two-game set against Pittsburgh. However, the Yankees will undoubtedly need him against the Boston Red Sox in a four-game series up north.
“We’ll just keep working to try to get him some relief,” Boone said.
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The Yankees are getting the most out of Anthony Rizzo:
This season, Rizzo has been a catalyst for the Yankees’ offensive success. He’s hitting .223 with a 33.6% on base rate and .507 slugging percentage. He has his best wRC+ since 2016 at 139. This indicates he’s 39% better than the average MLB player, which has been on full display this year.
Rizzo has hit 22 homers with 52 RBIs, featuring a 17.9% strikeout rate and 11.4% walk rate. His 40.8% hard-hit rate matches his career-high from 2021.
His barrel rate at 12.4% is nearly double what it’s been in the past, a clear indication he’s making much better contact.
Defensively, the 32-year-old hosts a .993 fielding percentage over 626 innings. He has four errors on the season but has been tremendous in scooping balls out of the dirt.
The Yankees have plenty of depth to supplement Rizzo’s loss, but the team misses his bat in the lineup, especially on the left side of the plate.