The combination of Giancarlo Stanton’s leaner frame and lethal power permitted the Yankees to dream on big numbers, but after missing most of last season, the designated hitter could not avoid the injured list.
Stanton was removed from a 5-3 loss to the Rays on Saturday, the second game of a doubleheader at Tropicana Field, after experiencing tightness in his left hamstring. The Yankees placed Stanton on the 10-day IL on Sunday and recalled infielder Thairo Estrada from the alternate site. Manager Aaron Boone announced on Tuesday that Stanton has a Grade 1 strain, which normally takes 3-4 weeks to heal.
“I’m hurting for him,” Boone said. “I know what he's done to be here. His play speaks for itself. Hopefully it's something that doesn't end up keeping him down too long.”
According to Boone, Stanton experienced the tightness while advancing to second base on a fourth-inning wild pitch. Stanton grimaced when he slid into the base, but he was able to move to third base on a Gleyber Torres single before scoring on a Luke Voit hit.
“I think he felt it when he got [to second base],” Boone said. “He realized something, and then when he came in, he said, ‘Have somebody ready.’ He wanted to go kind of stretch and see what he was feeling.”
In 14 games this season, Stanton is batting .293 (12-for-41) with three doubles, three home runs and seven RBIs. He launched his third homer of the season during the Yankees' 8-4 victory in Game 1 of Saturday's twin bill.
“It's tough,” Aaron Judge said. “It's a guy that's starting out with MVP numbers, driving the ball, coming up in big situations for us. It's going to be a tough loss however long he's out, but now our motto -- just like last year -- is, ‘Next man up.’”
Stanton played in only 18 regular-season contests last year, limited by a left biceps strain, a left shoulder strain, a left calf strain, a strain of his right posterior cruciate ligament and a strain of his right quadriceps.
The 2017 National League MVP while with the Marlins, Stanton led the Yankees with 38 homers and 100 RBIs in 2018.
“We’ve got a stacked team, and a lot of guys at alternate sites that are champing at the bit to get the opportunity,” Judge said. “Stanton is going to be missed, but I know a lot of guys that are waiting for the opportunity.”