By Rich Mancuso/ thenyextra.com
“I’m hurting for him, I know what he’s done to be here,”said Aaron Boone
Yes, again, Giancarlo Stanton is on the injured list. And manager Aaron Boone is hurting for his slugger but this is nothing new. The Yankees will adjust, they did last year when Stanton was limited to 18 games.
This was the 2019, 162-game season: Left biceps strain, left shoulder strain, left calf strain, right posterior cruciate ligament strain. And the right quadriceps strain.
This is 2020, 60- game sprint: Left hamstring pull and another stint on the 10-day injured list. Don’t expect Stanton back in the lineup for another four-to six weeks. Hamstring injuries, unlike others, take a longer period of time to heel and require more care.
“He gets his power and uses those body extremes to his advantage,” said an AL insider who knows Stanton. “This injury will need time and care.”
And it’s no secret over the past decade, with the game going more to power, the top home run hitters have sustained similar hamstring, quad, and strains.
So, here it is again. Giancarlo Stanton, and with the second highest Yankees contract, next to Gerrit Cole, is once again on the shelf. It’s hard to take and difficult to comprehend after leading the Yankees in 2018 with 38 home runs and 100 RBI.
Clint Frazier, who would have started the season in left while Stanton was healing, made his first start of the season and put on a show. He went 3-for-4 with a home run sparking the Yankees to a 6-3 win over the Braves in the Bronx. Frazier became the first player since Nick Swisher in 2009 to collect three hits including a home run in his debut.
“I’m here and I’m hoping to make the most of this opportunity, whenever it comes.” said Frazier.
Can Stanton, surpass or come close to 59 home runs and 132 RBI that earned 2017 National League MVP numbers with the Marlins? A season that earned a record contract in baseball. The home run power of Stanton, made for Yankee Stadium.
“It’s going to be a tough loss however long he’s out.” said Aaron Judge. “just like last year, next man up.”
But it is easy to comprehend that the Yankees have never been able to judge, pardon the pun, how many home runs combined Stanton and Aaron Judge could compile if they played an entire season without injuries to this and that.
It’s easy to understand, the Yankees will adjust. They will, as Judge said, go to the next man up as they did last year. There was no loss of production last year with the long ball coming second to the Twins in home runs.
The opening now comes with more playing time for Frazier, back in the Bronx from the alternative training site as referred to this unusual season. The absence of Stanton, could open an eventual return for Miguel Andujar.
Regarding Frazier, Boone said he will be important and it was based on his play in the spring and summer camps. This could be the opportunity for Frazier after being sent down to the alternative training site in Scranton.
“I expect he’s going to play an important role for us,” Boone said. “He went down there the next day and got right to work. It’s been really good and consistent. I;m excited to have him back.”
Stanton was used primarily as the DH, so Frazier or Andujar could alternate or be inserted in left field. Mike Ford was inserted as the designated hitter Tuesday night in the Yankees 9-6 win against the Braves.
Stanton, though, accumulated his usual amount of strikeouts prior to the hamstring issue and in 14 games batted .293 three doubles, three home runs, and seven RBI. He reported to Tampa in February leaner, injury free, stronger.
Last month at Summer camp, Stanton was hitting long balls out of the yard in the Bronx. There was that anticipation of Stanton and Judge hitting a combined record number of home runs in an abbreviated season.
But the Yankees are now in this position. Again ,one short in the power department, without a run producer as a still struggling Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres remain in the lineup.
“Stanton is going to be missed,” said Judge. “But I know a lot of guys that are waiting for the opportunity.”
Again, though, the complexion of this Yankees lineup has changed. The issue, also is Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees have to figure a way to keep a home run producer in the lineup.
It’s a task. But the Yankees will manage through this. They did last year, the year before.
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