NEW YORK -- Giancarlo Stanton intends to use the remainder of the regular season as a tune-up for the playoffs, and the Yankees slugger believes that he has enough time to get his swing ready for the most important games of the year.
Stanton returned to the Yankees’ lineup in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Angels, going 1-for-3 with a double in his first big league action since June 25. The extra-base hit came in Stanton’s first at-bat, a second-inning double off Halos starter Dillon Peters.
Stanton played six innings in the field, making a strong throw to home plate on Albert Pujols’ third-inning RBI single.
“For not being out there for a few months, I felt good in the box and moved around pretty well in the outfield,” Stanton said. “It was a good start.”
Stanton grounded out in the third inning and struck out swinging in the sixth. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that he could use Stanton as the designated hitter for all nine innings in Thursday’s series finale, a plan with which Stanton said he agrees.
“I'd like to play as much as I can to get at-bats, but I've still got to be smart with not being able to go on a rehab assignment and all that,” Stanton said. “I've got to build it up and get it right.”
In a corresponding roster move, the Yankees placed right-hander Dellin Betances on the 60-day injured list with a partial tear of his left Achilles tendon. The injury, sustained on Sunday in Toronto, will be season-ending for Betances. Surgery has not been recommended at this time, but it has not been ruled out, and Betances is seeking a second opinion.
Before his latest knee injury, the 29-year-old Stanton missed 68 games from April through mid-June due to biceps and shoulder issues. Stanton's return from that first stint on the injured list lasted six games.
“You've just got to lock it in and go with what you know,” Stanton said. “If it's going to take a little bit of time, it will. It'll be back and forth for a little while. I've got a week and a half to figure it out.”
Keeping it 100
The Yankees entered Wednesday on the precipice of securing their second consecutive 100-win season, having finished 100-62 in 2018. Boone would thus become the first manager in Major League history to earn 100 victories in each of his first two seasons.
Additionally, with one more win, Boone would join Ralph Houk (205 wins with the Yankees from 1961-62) as the only Major League managers to earn 200 wins over their first two seasons.
“I think our staff has done a great job of preparing these guys each and every day, from a game-plan standpoint to how we go about things,” Boone said. “I think our staff has put these guys in a really good position to go out and be their most successful. It's put us in good position right now.”
Masahiro Tanaka will start on Thursday against the Angels, moving up in the rotation one day as the Yankees move J.A. Happ to Friday’s start against the Blue Jays. The decision potentially lines up Tanaka to start Game 1 of the American League Division Series on regular rest, or to start Game 2 on one extra day.
This date in Yankees history
Sept. 18, 1956: Mickey Mantle hit his 50th home run of the season, an 11th-inning blast at Chicago’s Comiskey Park that powered the Yankees to a 3-2 victory over the White Sox.