NEW YORK -- Giancarlo Stanton never could have imagined that the season would be more than 40 percent complete and he'd still be looking for his first home run, nor that Aaron Judge could have hit only five homers and the Yankees would reside in first place in the American
NEW YORK -- Giancarlo Stanton never could have imagined that the season would be more than 40 percent complete and he'd still be looking for his first home run, nor that Aaron Judge could have hit only five homers and the Yankees would reside in first place in the American League East.
It has been a strange second season in New York so far for Stanton, but the slugger believes that is about to change. The Yankees welcomed Stanton back to the active roster before Tuesday's 6-3 win over the Rays, installing the 29-year-old as their right fielder, batting fifth.
Stanton made his presence felt early in right. He went up against the wall down the right field line and into the stands to snare a foul pop to end the second inning.
"It’s been a long time," Stanton said before the game. "It feels longer than it has been for me. I’m excited to be here. The boys have been fun to watch while I’ve been gone, so it’s going to be good to file in and battle with them."
Stanton played in the Yanks' first three games of the season before sustaining a left biceps tear on March 31 against the Orioles. During his recovery, Stanton aggravated a left shoulder injury that required a visit to a California-based specialist for a cortisone injection in late April.
Upon returning to Tampa, Fla., Stanton then was hit by a pitch in the left knee during an extended spring game, which Stanton believes led to a left calf strain that set him back once more.
“I was so close," Stanton said. "I built up, had to stop building up … I had to stop three times, so it was very frustrating and not ideal for sure. I’m just glad that’s over with and I can move forward from that. That wasn’t a fun time.”
With Judge potentially re-joining the big league club as soon as Friday, manager Aaron Boone plans to use Stanton regularly in left field, with Aaron Hicks manning center field and Judge in right field.
Stanton hit five homers in six Minor League rehab games, going 6-for-21 (.286) with Class A Advanced Tampa and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, though he only played nine innings once.
“We’ll take that into account and probably ease him back as far as everyday mode," Boone said. "There will probably be opportunities here and there to get him out of the game late. We’ll just kind of monitor it day to day … to see where he’s at every day as we kind of build him up."
Stanton said that he is looking forward to playing with Edwin Encarnacion, who will be used at first base and designated hitter. Encarnacion made his Yankees debut on Monday and leads the American League with 21 homers.
“We were already dangerous and now it’s another icing to the cake," Stanton said. "We’ve got to build this together. Once we’re all on full force, it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m just glad to be back and Aaron’s not far behind.”
Jordan Montgomery stopped a live batting practice session on Tuesday after 15 pitches due to discomfort. Boone said that he had no further information about the left-hander, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
“He walked off, he had a little bit of discomfort," Boone said. "I'm hoping it’s nothing more than just not feeling great on a particular day, which can tend to happen as you’re coming back from this. You can have some ups and downs.”
One week away
Luis Severino has yet to pitch an inning this season, but the right-hander could make a significant step on June 25 or 26, when he said that he is scheduled to throw from the mound. Sidelined since the spring due to right rotator cuff inflammation and then a right lat strain, Severino has thrown on flat ground from distances as great as 105 feet.
"I've been feeling good," Severino said. "I've been at 90 feet for like a week. I feel like I can go more. I understand they want to get it right. They don't want something to happen and set you back. I'd rather be like this and be healthy when I come back."
Dellin Betances is focusing on making a second-half impact out of the Yankees bullpen following his most recent setback, a right lat strain that he sustained while throwing a live batting practice session earlier this month. Betances said that he still feels discomfort and does not know when he will resume throwing.
"At this point, I have to make sure when I come back, I've got to be at my best," Betances said. "As a team, we're looking to win the division. I want to make sure that I'm there for the guys to make that final push into the playoffs. If I'm ready then and that happens, then we can all forget about the start [of the year]."
Domingo German (left hip flexor strain) played catch on flat ground Monday and was scheduled to do so again on Tuesday. The right-hander said that he is able to throw without discomfort, but does not know when he will be cleared to resume throwing from a mound.
Kendrys Morales (left calf strain) is improving, according to Boone, though the first baseman/DH's role appears foggy following the Encarnacion acquisition. Morales hit in the batting cage on Monday.
The Yankees have signed 27 of their 41 selections in the 2019 MLB Draft. That includes 17 of their first 18 picks, with first-round shortstop Anthony Volpe from Delbarton School in New Jersey (No. 30 overall) and competitive balance round left-hander TJ Sikkema from the University of Missouri (No. 38 overall) having agreed to deals.
Those in the first 20 rounds remaining unsigned are second-round infielder Josh Smith from LSU (No. 67 overall), 17th-round outfielder Pat DeMarco from Vanderbilt University (No. 525 overall) and 20th-round right-hander Jack Leiter from Delbarton School in New Jersey (No. 615 overall).
Leiter, the son of former big league pitcher Al Leiter, has told the Yankees that he plans to honor his commitment to Vanderbilt.
This date in Yankees history
June 18, 2005: Derek Jeter hit his first and only career grand slam in an 8-1 victory over the Cubs. Jeter had hit 156 home runs prior to the grand slam off Joe Borowski, the most by any Yankee before hitting a grand slam.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.