After losing the first two games against the Minnesota Twins, the New York Yankees managed to salvage the series, winning the final two contests and extending their streak to start the year, having not lost a series.
Thanks to a tremendous performance courtesy of Gerrit Cole, the Yankees were able to rest their bullpen and walk away with an easy win, enjoying an off day Monday before taking on the Los Angeles Angels.
However, the team learned some tough news over the weekend, specifically regarding Giancarlo Stanton.
The Yankees will be without Stanton for quite some time:
Stanton had an MRI on Sunday that revealed a Grade 2 hamstring strain, which should keep him out for a minimum of 4–6 weeks, if not more, given how severe lower leg injuries have been for him in the past. Stanton had started off the 2023 season on a good note, hitting .269 with a .296 OBP, smashing four homers with 11 RBIs. Once again, the star slugger will have to ramp back up and help the team down the stretch since he can’t avoid these issues.
In the meantime, expect to see plenty of Aaron Hicks and Franchy Cordero in the outfield, but the designated hitter spot is up for grabs. Willie Calhoun could get more opportunities moving forward, having enjoyed a base hit on Sunday in Stanton‘s absence. It is possible that DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres take turns DHing, allowing both to play defensively but also accrue essential rest.
Harrison Bader is making solid progress:
With Stanton going down, the Yankees received some good news regarding Harrison Bader, who’s been dealing with an oblique injury for the past few weeks. Bader barely made any spring training appearances, so he will have to ramp up in the minor-league system before returning to the majors.
“It’s not just going to be a few days down there,” Boone said of Bader. “He’s gotta play some games and obviously get up to playing back-to-back and volume of innings and things like that.”
He could be a few weeks away, but at the very least, the injury is healing nicely and he is nearing a return to live action, which at least starts the clock.
“Assuming all the boxes get checked in terms of how I’m responding,” Bader said a few days ago, “it’s right around the corner, which is very exciting.”
Bader is one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball and made a significant impact with the Yankees during the playoffs last year. Across nine games, Bader hit an impressive .333 with a .429 OBP, tallying five homers, and six RBIs.
Those numbers won’t translate to the regular season, but it is nice to know he’s capable of streaks like that. The Yankees have been trying to add more speed to the roster, increasing their aggressiveness on the base paths. Having Bader and Anthony Volpe at the bottom of the lineup certainly gives them plenty of speed to work with.