The New York Yankees were absolutely slaughtered this past week dealing with injuries. They lost several pitching contributors, notably Luis Gil and Chad Green, to Tommy John surgery. Jonathan Loaisiga and Aroldis Chapman were both placed on the injured list following shoulder discomfort and Achilles tendinitis.
However, the outfield was also impacted, as Giancarlo Stanton picked up a sore ankle. The Yankees are expected to get back a few players in the next few days against Tampa Bay, winning the first game of the series on Thursday night, thanks to a master-class performance from Nestor Cortes.
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Yankees preparing to get two outfielders back from injury:
The Yankees have been playing a risky game in the outfield the past few weeks, leaning on Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks. Both have been abysmal on offense, so the Yankees will likely welcome the addition of Tim Locastro, who traveled with the team to Tampa. He’s been working diligently to make a return from a lat injury.
Locastro was hitting .231 with one homer and two RBIs before picking up the injury. Defensively, he offered phenomenal speed in the outfield, coming up big on multiple occasions. He also featured a 13.3% walk rate and stole four bases, contributing to the Yankees’ improved running on the paths.
Locastro has experience in every outfield spot, giving him essential value. Having featured with the Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks last year, they saw the value he brought to the team with his speed and defensive qualities. Nonetheless, Miguel Andujar has also performed well in recent days, so Locastro could have a bit of competition upon his return.
Hicks sat out on Thursday due to a hamstring injury, but he’s expected to return to the lineup on Friday. Hicks has been a complete liability on offense and has jogged in the outfield trying to track down flyballs. Overall, he’s displayed a lazy approach, hitting .209 this season with one HR and seven RBIs.
After Hicks’s wrist injury last year, he seems to have lost any semblance of power, posting a .243 slugging percentage this season. His hard-hit rate is down to 30.2%, and his barrel rate is sitting at 1.2%. Not only is his power regressing at an astronomical rate, but he’s making terrible contact in the batter’s box.
Manager Aaron Boone might have no choice but to begin supplementing him slowly with other options, notably Andujar and Locastro.