Stanton out of G4 lineup, close to DH option

October 17th, 2019

NEW YORK -- trotted gingerly on the basepaths on Thursday prior to Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Astros at Yankee Stadium, testing his strained right quadriceps with a workout that included several jogs from home plate to first base and one arc from first to third base.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who viewed the display, estimated that Stanton is running at about 60 percent of his normal capability. Though Stanton will likely be a limited player through the remainder of the ALCS and potentially the World Series, the club believes that could be good enough for him to serve as the designated hitter or to enter a game as a pinch-hitter.

“I felt like today was the first day it was probably better,” Boone said. “I'm not ready to put him in the outfield, especially here [at Yankee Stadium], but I feel like he's probably close to a DH option. He's certainly a hitter off the bench for us in a spot. I do feel like today was better.”

Stanton has not played since Game 1 of the ALCS, when he sustained the injury while running out a second-inning infield single. He finished the evening 2-for-4, slugging a solo homer in the sixth inning, and he has been taking batting practice each day since the injury.

“I think he would have liked to have even played in Game 3,” Boone said. “I think he's putting himself in that position and available. I think he would like to play, but I've got to weigh all that and make a determination on where I feel like he's at.”

Boone said the Yankees are comfortable enough with Stanton’s progress to state that they will probably not replace him on the ALCS roster. There had been speculation that Stanton could be removed in favor of a healthier position player, but doing so would render Stanton inactive for the World Series, should the Yanks advance.

“We're not going to make too many [in-game] moves anyway,” Boone said. “There's a pinch-run [opportunity] to be had here or there, but that's really about it. For the most part, our guys that are playing are in there for the duration. In the right situation or matchup, he would be an option. But, no, I don't feel hamstrung.”

Stanton’s on-field running transpired after the Game 4 lineup had been decided, Boone said. Stanton played in a career-low 18 games during the regular season, slashing .288/.403/.492 with three homers and 13 RBIs. He is 3-for-10 (.300) with a homer and two RBIs in four games this postseason.

If Stanton were to return to the Game 5 lineup as a DH, the Yankees could have play first base, with moving to third base and sitting on the bench. New York could also simply sit Encarnacion.

“I'm confident in Edwin playing the field,” Boone said. “Are we going to be as dynamic as we are with DJ at first and Gio at third? The defense we have out there right now is our best defense across the board -- outfield, infield. But I feel like if Edwin has to go in and play first, he's a very capable first baseman.”