Stanton, Donaldson, Kahnle to rejoin Yanks in LA

June 1st, 2023

SEATTLE -- The cavalry is coming. , and are all jetting toward the West Coast, preparing to join what will be a more complete Yankees roster for Friday’s series opener against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

The rehabbing Yankees trio departed New York on Wednesday, bound for California. All three players were activated from their respective Minor League rehab assignments on Thursday, as the club enjoyed an off-day.

“They’ve all been doing pretty well here for a while and have been able to do a lot of physical work to get themselves prepared,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said on Wednesday in Seattle. “For the most part, I feel like they’re ready to go.”

The Dodgers series promises to be a homecoming for Stanton, last year’s Most Valuable Player in the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium and a product of Los Angeles’ Tujunga area.

Though Stanton has played in just one Minor League rehab game since sustaining a left hamstring strain on April 15 -- going 0-for-3 with a walk on Tuesday for Double-A Somerset -- Boone said that would not necessarily preclude him from rejoining the Yankees’ lineup.

“There’s so many tools we have now that you can replicate [at-bats] better than ever,” Boone said. “In Giancarlo’s case, he’s been doing a lot of physical stuff as far as outfield work and the running buildup. On the hitting side of things, what they’re able to do behind the scenes to speed up that curve has grown exponentially over the last couple of years.”

Stanton said on Tuesday in Somerset, N.J., that hitting off a pitching machine is “very close, speed-wise, but it’s still not the same thing [as facing pitchers]. I’ve got to get adapted as quick as possible.”

Boone said he would use Stanton as a designated hitter, at least for the first couple of weeks.

“I need to be [in the outfield]. I need to stay moving,” Stanton said. “It’s better for the team as well, so it’s what I’ve got to do.”

Donaldson has been out since April 5 due to a right hamstring strain, which he subsequently aggravated in an April 18 rehab game. Donaldson played in four Minor League rehab games over the past week, three for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and one for Somerset, going 4-for-13 (.308) with one double, one homer, two RBIs and four walks.

Boone has indicated that he expects Donaldson to reclaim an everyday spot as the Yankees’ third baseman. DJ LeMahieu would return to a utility role between first base, second base and third base.

“We’ll work it out,” Boone said. “It’ll work itself out.”

Kahnle missed most of Spring Training due to right biceps tendinitis and has yet to make his season debut. The right-hander made five Minor League rehab appearances at three levels, posting a 1.80 ERA by permitting one run in five innings for Single-A Tampa, Somerset and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

“It’s always rewarding when you finally finish rehabbing and get back with the team to help, instead of being on a training table,” Kahnle said on Tuesday.

In corresponding roster moves, the Yankees optioned infielder/outfielder Oswaldo Cabrera, outfielder Franchy Cordero and left-hander Matt Krook to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Cabrera provided a welcome spark after being promoted last August and edged the since-released Aaron Hicks to serve as the Yanks' Opening Day left fielder, but the 24-year-old batted just .195/.246/.292 in 50 games.

“Part of surviving and ultimately thriving here is to be able to deal with the successes and failures, and being able to make adjustments as the league constantly is making adjustments to you,” Boone said earlier this week. “Those are the separators. He has a great head on his shoulders and he’s a really good player. We’ll just continue to work with him to try to make those adjustments.”

Boone added after Wednesday’s game that he also expects first baseman Anthony Rizzo to return to the lineup on Friday. Rizzo missed three starts during the Seattle series due to a stiff neck and was only available in an “emergency situation,” according to Boone.