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Stanton could start G3; Hicks an option in CF

@BryanHoch
October 14, 2019

NEW YORK -- The Yankees are hopeful that Giancarlo Stanton will return to the lineup when the American League Championship Series shifts venues to Yankee Stadium for Game 3 on Tuesday.

NEW YORK -- The Yankees are hopeful that Giancarlo Stanton will return to the lineup when the American League Championship Series shifts venues to Yankee Stadium for Game 3 on Tuesday.

ALCS presented by GEICO, Game 3: today, 4 p.m. ET on FS1

Stanton sustained a right quadriceps strain early in Saturday’s ALCS opener and did not appear in the Yankees’ 3-2, 11-inning loss at Houston in Sunday’s Game 2. With rest and treatment for Stanton prescribed, manager Aaron Boone said that the club should be able to better evaluate his status before Game 3.

“He hit in the cage [Sunday] and it went pretty well,” Boone said. “We tried as much as we could to stay away from testing it or doing those kind of things with the off-day [Monday].”

Game Date Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 12 NYY 7, HOU 0 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 13 HOU 3, NYY 2 (11) Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 15 HOU 4, NYY 1 Watch
Gm 4 Oct. 17 HOU 8, NYY 3 Watch
Gm 5 Oct. 18 NYY 4, HOU 1 Watch
Gm 6 Oct. 19 HOU 6, NYY 4 Watch

In the event that Stanton is unable to play in Game 3, Boone said that Aaron Hicks could draw the start in center field, shifting Brett Gardner to left field.

The Yankees opted to start Cameron Maybin in left field for Game 2, but the larger left-center-field expanse at Yankee Stadium could prompt them to tighten the defensive alignment with Gardner and Hicks.

After Game 2, Hicks said that there was no disappointment on his part that the Yankees chose to start Maybin. Hicks entered the game as a 10th-inning pinch-hitter, grounding out to first base.

“Cam has been playing great for us,” Hicks said. “He’s been a clutch hitter for us. He’s been going out for defense and playing great defense, so of course [I'm not disappointed]. He’s been playing. He’s a guy that has at-bats, and he’s been huge for us. I can’t get mad at not playing. I’ll just wait for the opportunity, and I was able to get one [Sunday].”

The Yankees are reluctant to replace Stanton on the ALCS roster because doing so would render him inactive for the World Series, should they advance.

“It is a sensitive decision, a tough decision, and hopefully we make the best decision,” Boone said. “We'll just try and evaluate and try and get as honest as feedback as we can from Giancarlo, which he's on the same page with. We feel like we have good communication there, and we’ll try to make the best decision for us moving forward.”

Looking ahead
The Yankees have not identified a starting pitcher for Wednesday’s Game 4, though Boone said that they are planning on using an opener. Chad Green has been their usual choice for those spots, though the identity of that opener would depend on New York's bullpen use Tuesday.

Boone added that J.A. Happ could be a “big part of Game 4.” Those plans could also be altered by Mother Nature. Most forecasts are calling for significant rainfall in the New York City area throughout the day on Wednesday.

“If weather becomes an issue where the game were to get wiped out Wednesday, that kind of impacts what you do moving forward from there,” Boone said.

Keep on Kraken
Gary Sánchez went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in Game 2 and is 2-for-17 (.118) in the postseason, though Boone said that he is not inclined to drop the catcher from the No. 7 spot in the lineup.

“I feel like last night, there were a couple of pitches he got that he was all over,” Boone said. “When you do get a pitch, you have to take advantage. He had a couple last night where I thought he got his ‘A’ swing off.”

Sánchez, who was slowed by a right groin strain in September but returned to catch twice during the final series of the regular season, believes he is close to finding his timing.

“I feel fine,” Sánchez said through an interpreter. “I’m healthy, which is important. I've just got to make the adjustments necessary and find a way to contribute."

The long run
There was a moment of levity on the mound in the 10th inning of Game 2, as CC Sabathia handed the ball to Boone following his one-batter relief cameo. It was prompted, Boone said, when Sabathia remarked, “That run in [from the bullpen] almost killed me.”

“You saw us get a laugh, probably,” Boone said. “He came out of it fine [physically].”

This date in Yankees history
Oct. 14, 1976: Chris Chambliss won the American League pennant for the Yankees in dramatic fashion, homering off the Royals’ Mark Littell in the bottom of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. A frenzied crowd of 56,821 rushed the playing field in the Bronx, preventing Chambliss from rounding the bases, though he later returned to stamp a foot on the dirt where home plate had been.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.