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Notes: Stanton to remain DH; revised sked

@BryanHoch
August 1, 2020

NEW YORK -- Giancarlo Stanton has been one of the league’s hottest hitters through the first week of games, and though the Yankees slugger’s right calf seems healthy enough to handle outfield duties, manager Aaron Boone does not want to disrupt a plan that is working. Boone said on Saturday

NEW YORK -- Giancarlo Stanton has been one of the league’s hottest hitters through the first week of games, and though the Yankees slugger’s right calf seems healthy enough to handle outfield duties, manager Aaron Boone does not want to disrupt a plan that is working.

Boone said on Saturday that he continues to envision Stanton as the Yankees’ designated hitter for the foreseeable future.

“I do like him for now in this role,” Boone said. “He's doing so well. From a performance standpoint, he's been great. I feel like physically he's in a great spot. He's ready to go play the outfield, but I feel like with the roster we have right now, it kind of makes the most sense to go this route.”

The Yankees declined to have Stanton play the outfield during Summer Camp, instead giving reps in left field to Miguel Andújar, Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman and Tyler Wade. Clint Frazier, who is currently at the team’s alternate training site, also saw time in left field.

Stanton sustained a Grade 1 right calf strain in late February that would have rendered him unavailable for the season opener as it was originally scheduled on March 26, but baseball’s pause allowed him ample time to recover.

Since joining the Yankees prior to the 2018 season, 98 of Stanton’s 183 regular-season games have come as a designated hitter, including Saturday’s contest.

New view
Gardner is accustomed to picking fly balls out of a medley of multi-colored shirts in the upper decks of big league ballparks, so it has been a different experience tracking drives in the three empty stadiums that the Yankees have played in so far during the regular season.

“As a hitter, it really doesn't change anything, because the fans are never right behind the pitcher anyway,” Gardner said. “But on defense, the ball is coming out of the seats now instead of coming out of people sitting in the seats, so it is a little bit different for me. It seems to be easier, because the background is all one solid color -- in our case here at home, dark-blue seats.”

Gardner believes that not having fans in the stands could present a challenge for outfielders trying to find balls during day games, when there is increased glare.

The road ahead
Major League Baseball announced a revised schedule for next week, providing the Yankees with a firm grasp on their upcoming travel. The Yankees will now host the Phillies on Monday and Tuesday, then return to Philadelphia to play on Wednesday and Thursday.

Following the home-and-home set with the Phillies, the Yankees will travel to St. Petersburg for a four-game series with the Rays at Tropicana Field from Aug. 7-9. A doubleheader will be played on Saturday, Aug. 8, with both games of that twin bill limited to seven innings.

“If anything, this season and the virus have taught us that this is always a day-by-day, week-by-week kind of situation that we exist in,” Boone said.

Bombers bits
• Right-hander Luis Cessa was scheduled to throw two simulated innings on Saturday at the Yankees’ alternate training site in Moosic, Pa. Boone said that Cessa could be in position to join the Yankees within the next few days.

• In order to make room for right-hander Masahiro Tanaka on the active roster, catcher Chris Iannetta was designated for assignment on Saturday. The 37-year-old Iannetta had yet to appear in a game for the Yankees.

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