Notes: Stanton's weight loss; Aroldis update

August 2nd, 2020

NEW YORK -- When limped through the visitors clubhouse at Minute Maid Park last October, having completed what he described as a “brutal” year while mending yet another injury, the Yankees designated hitter vowed that his fortunes would change in 2020.

Limited to 18 games during the regular season, Stanton returned to his Miami home intent upon remodeling his physique, then had more time than expected to continue chipping away. The results have been apparent for Stanton, who estimates that he trimmed about 20 pounds from his listed playing weight of 245.

“I had a lot of time to think over last year,” Stanton said. “I just wanted to cover all my bases. I tried to figure out what was the best way for me to stay on the field. What's the best way to for me to progress? I thought I'd give this a try and be closer to the weight of my younger years.”

After leading the Yankees with 38 homers and 100 RBIs in 2018, Stanton was sidelined in ’19 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.

Had the 2020 season started as originally scheduled, Stanton was expected to miss Opening Day due to a right calf strain sustained during outfield drills in February. That factored into manager Aaron Boone’s decision to keep Stanton as the Yanks’ designated hitter, even though Boone believes Stanton is physically ready to begin taking fly balls in the outfield.

“[Losing weight] was my plan, even without a pause, so I extended it a bit,” said Stanton, who remained at the Yankees’ complex in Tampa, Fla., for most of the shutdown. “I wanted to come in and lose a good bit by the time the season started, so it threw me off a bit with getting paused in mid-March, but that was the plan.”

‘Missile’ launch
is expected to throw in the Yankee Stadium bullpen on Monday, which will mark the left-hander’s return to the mound following a positive coronavirus test. Chapman was cleared to rejoin the team on Friday and has been playing catch across the outfield grass.

“We'll see where he's at,” Boone said. “He's doing great. Everything's gone well with throwing back-to-back days. The hope is that he'll get on the mound [Monday].”

In Chapman’s absence, left-hander Zack Britton has been utilized as the closer, recording two saves in as many opportunities. Boone said Britton was unavailable on Saturday, when right-hander David Hale recorded a six-out save, because Britton warmed up twice on Friday.

“It's a day-by-day, week-by-week kind of scenario,” Boone said. “You're constantly trying to strike that balance of making sure guys are sharp and making sure guys are built up properly.”

Bravo, Suzyn
Suzyn Waldman performed the national anthem from the broadcast booth prior to Friday’s Yankee Stadium home opener, with the veteran radio announcer keeping a promise she once made to in the event that the right-hander ever signed with the team.

Following Waldman’s closing, Cole applauded and tipped his cap toward the press level before tapping his heart. Cole continued to rave about Waldman’s performance on Sunday.

“She nailed it. Everybody was talking about it,” Cole said. “Everybody was like, ‘Wow, she was like really good.’ She had a good pace; players always appreciate a good pace.”

Up next
Cole (2-0, 3.09 ERA) will finally wear the pinstripes in a game that counts on Monday when the Yankees host the Phillies at Yankee Stadium, beginning a four-game home-and-home series that was pushed back from last week. Cole has logged victories in each of his two starts, having faced the Nationals and Orioles. Right-hander Jake Arrieta has been announced as Philadelphia’s probable starter, making his season debut as the Phils return to action following a week off. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET (watch live on MLB.TV).