Good news came for the Yankees on Friday, when the team activated Giancarlo Stanton prior to its series opener against the Tigers at Comerica Park.
Stanton hit second and went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts in the 3-2 loss, but the important part as he works to regain his timing was that “everything checked out great” with his left quadriceps despite being tested by temperatures that dipped into the 40s.
“I’m picking [the ball] up OK, [but] my in-between-pitches adjustments, I wasn’t as fast as I usually am from being down a couple of weeks,” Stanton said. “That’s it, just the mental part of getting back in, making the quick little adjustments and making sure I get the ball in play.”
Stanton had missed the past 13 games with a left quad strain. The May 14 move to the injured list was one New York hopes prevented a long-term issue for 31-year-old designated hitter, who was limited by tightness in the area and has had four stints on the IL since the start of 2019.
The Yankees could certainly use the boost of Stanton’s powerful bat: He entered Friday second on the team in homers (nine) and tied for second in RBIs (24) despite having played just 33 games this year. New York, meanwhile, entered Friday with a .230 team batting average that ranked 22nd in MLB.
“Even on days [Stanton’s] not getting hits, I feel like routinely, we're looking at two or three balls that are smoked each and every day,” manager Aaron Boone said. “He's been having those kind of at-bats going back to last postseason, and [he] has really carried it into this year. I just think he's in a really good frame of mind, putting together really good plans when he walks into the game each and every night, and for the most part, has been delivering on that.”
Stanton enjoyed a season-high 12-game hitting streak from April 23-May 6, during which he homered six times, hit four doubles and collected 11 RBIs for a .481/.509/.904 slash line. But he has gone just 3-for-22 since, including a 1-for-4 showing in the series finale against the Rays on May 13, after which he reported the tightness in his quad.
The move was a welcome positive for a club once again beleaguered by injuries. On Thursday, the Yankees lost two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber -- who no-hit the Rangers on May 19 -- until at least July with a right subscapular (shoulder) strain. First baseman Luke Voit joined Kluber on the IL the same day with a right oblique strain.
“Definitely good to have [Stanton] back,” Boone said. “Obviously what he means to our lineup and how well he's been swinging the bat to start the year, so not only to add him, but just to add a little bit more length to our lineup as well.”
• Boone said Aroldis Chapman, who has not seen action since Sunday and was not used in a save situation Thursday, is healthy and was available to pitch Friday.
• Saturday’s starter, Deivi García, said he’s been fine-tuning the balance and release point of his delivery, which have caused him command issues this season. New York has multiple options to plug the holes in its starting rotation, but García is hopeful he’ll impress enough with his improvements that the Yankees won’t have to continue their search.
“I definitely feel very good,” García said. “I understand the consistency that I want. I haven't gotten to that point yet, but I feel good. I feel excited for the opportunity, and I am looking forward to it.”
He said it
“Just to be part of the organization as a whole is very meaningful to me, knowing the history and being a fan. … Putting the pinstripes on every day reflects how awesome it is. Each one of those days reminds you of that.” -- first baseman Mike Ford, on playing Lou Gehrig’s position during MLB’s Lou Gehrig Day next Wednesday
This date in Yankees history
May 28, 1946: The first night game at Yankee Stadium is played in front of 49,917 fans. General Electric president Charles Wilson threw out the first pitch. New York lost, 2-1, to the Senators.