By Lenn Robbins
The Yankees placed another key player on the Injured List on Sunday. Then the Yankees won another game with a depleted lineup.
The question, in this 60-game-sprint in which every twinge, strain and sprain is magnified, is this: How long can this go on?
Prior to Sunday night’s 4-2 win over the Red Sox, the Yankees fifth straight win, they placed DJ LeMahieu on the 10-day injured list with a sprained left thumb. LeMahieu, who might be the team’s MVP this season, is the American League leader with a .411 batting average.
“That’s the catalyst of this offense,” Aaron Judge told reporters. “Doesn’t matter the situation, the time of the game, what’s going on, how he’s feeling.”
No Yankee player has been a bigger recipient of LeMahieu’s steady production than Judge. He’s often been in the on-deck circle with two outs when LeMahieu has kept alive an inning.
LeMahieu will see a hand specialist on Monday, which will give the Yankees a better idea of how long the versatile infielder will be out. LeMahieu suffered a similar injury last season and missed two and one-half weeks.
“Right now, it’s just a sprain, not broken,’’ Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “We’re in some ways a little bit relieved. We were kind of fearing for the worst last night. … We want to make sure everyone is seeing what we believe we’re seeing.”
Judge went on the IL on Saturday with a strained right calf. Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) is on the IL. Pitchers Luis Severino and Tommy Kahnle have been lost for the season. Aroldis Chapman is due back Monday after testing positive for the coronavirus.
The Yankees recalled Miguel Andujar who did not play. Mike Ford continues to make the most of his opportunity. He had an RBI single in the first and slammed a two-run homer in the fourth giving the Yankees a 4-1 lead. J.A. Happ got his first win of the season by allowing one earned run on three hits with three K’s in five and two-thirds innings.
The Yankees are 15-6 (9-1 at home) and looking at 40-plus win season – if they can stop this procession to the IL. It’s a testament to this team’s depth that it can absorb losses that might break another team.
But it’s also some bad déjà vu for the Yankees, who set an MLB record last season by sending 30 players to the IL 39 times. They lost 1,149 days to injury, more than 600 days more than any other team. Yankees revamped their training staff after last season, bringing in Eric Cressey in new role of director of player health and performance.