Yankees surprisingly leave out core outfielder from lineup

MLB: Seattle Mariners at New York Yankees, alex verdugo
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees starting left fielder Alex Verdugo went crashing into the outfield wall on what would’ve been an extra-base hit on Wednesday night, seemingly a little rattled after making a snowcone catch. However, Verdugo was left out of the lineup for Thursday’s game, but it was unrelated to his impressive catch in Wednesday’s game against Minnesota, manager Aaron Boone said.

It is entirely possible that Verdugo is getting a well-deserved day off after playing 60 games to open the season, hitting .252/.313/.427, including eight homers and 34 RBIs. Verdugo is well on his way to setting a personal record in home runs, sporting a career-low 12.6% strikeout rate and 111 wRC+.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at New York Yankees, alex verdugo
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees’ Adjustments on Thursday

Most importantly, Verdugo will be looking to boost his on-base over the next few months since a .313 rate is his lowest since 2017, when he only played 15 games with the Dodgers. It seems as if the Yankees are sacrificing a bit of contact for slugging potential, leveraging the short right porch in Yankee Stadium. He currently sports a career-high 9.4° launch angle with a 37.3% hard-hit rate and a 6.7% barrel rate. It is evident he’s trying to elevate the ball more, which could be leading to fewer hits and more flyballs.

Defensively, Verdugo is considered one of the best left fielders in baseball this season, hosting nine defensive runs saved and three outs above average.

Hopefully, Verdugo isn’t dealing with any pain or injury, simply enjoying a day off on Thursday to wrap up a three-game series against Minnesota, who are on the verge of being swept in the Bronx before the Dodgers come to town over the weekend.

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