Yankees lose yet another outfielder to injured list

willie calhoun, yankees
Jun 10, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Willie Calhoun (24) hits a solo home run in the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees continue to struggle with injuries as outfielder/designated hitter Willie Calhoun is expected to join the injured list (IL) due to a quad injury. He suffered the injury during the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.

Calhoun’s Injury Details

Calhoun injured his quad while trying to outrun an infield ground ball in the eighth inning. His noticeable limp while approaching first base and exiting the field signaled the severity of the injury. Post-match, Yankees Manager Aaron Boone shared, “He did something with his quad, so we’ll see what we got there.”

Calhoun anticipates a stint on the IL, as this injury resembles one he endured a few years ago, which necessitated a PRP injection and approximately 3-4 weeks of recovery. “I know for sure I can’t do much right now,” Calhoun stated. “I won’t be able to run at all on my left leg. Doesn’t feel too great right now.”

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Impact on the Yankees’ Lineup

With Aaron Judge’s return date still uncertain, the Yankees once again find themselves in need of another outfielder and increased contributions from other players.

Calhoun, one of the Yankees’ stronger hitters during a period of offensive struggle, has made significant contributions with five home runs this season and a .768 OPS over his last 15 games. The team will now need to strategize on filling this gap in the lineup.

Potential Replacements: Cabrera and McKinney

Oswaldo Cabrera, the underperforming super-utility man, will be recalled to replace Calhoun on the roster. Cabrera was demoted to triple-A only on Tuesday, following Harrison Bader’s return. Now, a thinning outfield offers Billy McKinney and Cabrera an opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities.

While Cabrera has found this season challenging, McKinney has been impressive. In his 13 games with the Yankees this season, McKinney is boasting .317/.333/.659 stats with three home runs and five RBIs. His powerful and athletic performances may become increasingly critical with Calhoun’s absence.

Further Opportunities: Kiner-Falefa and Stanton

Calhoun’s absence also creates a potential opening for Isiah Kiner-Falefa to secure a regular spot as a utility player. After a robust May performance, Kiner-Falefa’s form has dwindled in June. However, this situation could provide him the opportunity to earn more playtime and stake a claim for a larger role.

Alternatively, Giancarlo Stanton may see more field time. Although he hasn’t played there since returning from the IL, Stanton often performs better at the plate when he’s also involved in the field. Given his .111 batting average and a 38% strikeout rate since his return from injury, more field time could potentially benefit his performance.

How the Yankees will adjust their order to account for Calhoun’s absence remains to be seen, but expect Boone to experiment with various combinations as he manages this latest injury challenge.

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