NEW YORK -- It was during an Interleague trip to a National League ballpark, just 99 or so miles down the road in Philadelphia, where Giancarlo Stanton sat and stewed about being limited to pinch-hitting duties in June. The slugger soon resumed outfield work, preparing for the next time that the Yankees would be without the designated hitter.
Stanton has been playing the outfield periodically since then, but his name did not appear in Friday’s lineup as the Yankees opened the second leg of the Subway Series against the Mets at Citi Field. Manager Aaron Boone said that he plans to have Stanton return to patrolling the outfield on Saturday and Sunday.
“I’m just looking at two of the three games that you probably have in play here,” Boone said. “Just kind of weighing out the matchups, it just kind of makes sense, personnel-wise.”
Stanton has never faced Friday’s Mets starter, right-hander Tylor Megill. He is 3-for-7 with a double and a homer vs. Saturday’s starter, Taijuan Walker. He’s 0-for-1 against right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who is scheduled to go on Sunday.
The return to play under NL rules also left Boone opting for Anthony Rizzo at first base, with Luke Voit landing on the bench.
“Especially now as we’re much more whole and healthy and have all our guys, you hate not having that DH there,” Boone said. “But that’s part of it. We’ve got two big bats over there that we can fire in different situations, hopefully in a big spot.”
Cole on deck
The Yankees are optimistic that right-hander Gerrit Cole can return to the rotation on Tuesday against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Cole exited his most recent start against the Blue Jays this past Tuesday with left hamstring tightness.
“He’s got a bullpen [on Saturday] and that will tell us a lot,” Boone said. “It will be one of those final checkmarks that we’ve got to go through, but we’re feeling good and optimistic at least about him being inserted early next week.”
Boone said that the Yankees have not determined who will start Sunday’s series finale against the Mets.
A pair of benchings this week may help Gleyber Torres reset in what has been a disappointing season to date for the Bombers shortstop. Torres has spoken with Boone several times this week, and the manager believes that better days are ahead.
“If we are going to do something special as a team, I feel like he’s going to play a big part in that,” Boone said. “You can do a lot now in the final weeks of the season, hopefully on into the postseason, that make an up-and-down difficult season a lot sweeter.”
An All-Star in both of his first two seasons, Torres entered Friday batting .249/.323/.342 with six homers and 43 RBIs (86 OPS+) in 105 games.
This date in Yankees history
Sept. 10, 1922: The Yankees played their final regular-season game at the Polo Grounds, defeating the Philadelphia Athletics by a 2-1 score.