The New York Yankees currently share a tie for first place in the A.L. East with a 40-24 record. It comes as no surprise that one of the brightest and best teams in baseball over the past few years is off to a strong start. However, what’s most impressive is that the Yankees are winning without their top guns.
With Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino and other stars on the Yankees bench, players like DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela have stepped up in their absence.As the season progresses, the injured Bombers are getting closer towards returning to the fold.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the status of the injured Yankees and get a glimpse into how the lineup will look once they return.
The Yankees have been without their unofficial captain and star player since April 20, when he strained his oblique during a swing against the Kansas City Royals. Judge has been working hard to get back on the field but must be patient. Oblique strains are one of the trickiest injuries in baseball and vital towards both hitting and throwing. As a result, the Yankees have been patient with Judge, waiting for him to fully heal and stay healthy for the remainder of the season.
Recently, Yankees reporter Bryan Hoch believes there’s a possibility Judge returns to the Yankees for their London series against the Boston Red Sox later this month.
This report is the best case scenario. Judge has yet to begin his rehab assignment so it’s hard to believe that he will be ready at the end of this month. Instead, I’d expect Judge to make his return in early July, giving him plenty of time to fully recover and be ready for the second half of the season.
Easily the most confusing injury for the Yankees, there hasn’t been much explanation for what’s going on with Stanton. He was placed on the 10-day IL on April 1 with a left biceps strain that then led to a series of mysterious injuries. After recovering from his biceps strain, Stanton suffered an unrelated shoulder injury.
He then underwent a series of Cortisone shots to help his strained shoulder before making a rehab assignment with High-A Tampa in late May. During his rehab assignment, Stanton faced another setback, this time, with left calf tightness. Since then, Stanton has been recovering and will likely make another rehab start in the coming days.
If all goes to plan, expect Stanton back with the Yankees at the end of this month. That is, of course, assuming he doesn’t suffer yet another setback.
The Yankees young Ace posted a career-high 19 wins during the 2018 season and has established himself as one of the best pitchers in the MLB. The Yankees signed him to a four-year extension this offseason and looked forward to his continued progression in 2019 until he was diagnosed with a rotator cuff inflammation on his right shoulder prior to the season.
This injury kept Severino out for a month but on April 9th, he was diagnosed with a Grade 2 lat strain, a completely unrelated injury that would cost him even more time on the IL. Severino has resumed throwing activities but will likely be out until at least the All-Star break. Expect him to make his first start of the season in mid to late July.
Betances is widely regarded as one of the best relievers in the league. His high-velocity fastball and lethal breaking ball make him almost unhittable. After feeling some discomfort in his shoulder prior to the season, the Yankees announced that he would start the year on the IL. Although no official explanation has been giving as to what exactly the injury is, Betances felt more soreness recently and is out indefinitely.
With Betances feeling discomfort in his shoulder for almost three months now, the Yankees hope that the test results will provide a better idea towards what’s going on. Until then, it does not look like Betances will be playing anytime soon and his 2019 campaign is certainly in doubt.
The most recent Yankee to appear on the IL, German was placed on the 10-day IL with a left hip flexor strain following his start against Cleveland on June 7th.
After struggling immensely last season, he’s been a surprise bright spot in the Yankees banged-up rotation. German is currently tied for the lead league in wins with nine and boasts a 3.86 ERA. The Yankees will know more once they get the MRI results back, but in the meantime, he is out indefinitely.
A back-end option on the Yankees starting rotation, Montgomery underwent Tommy Johns surgery last summer and has been recovering nicely. Montgomery has begun to throw simulated sessions and will return to the team sometime after July.
The most consistently injured Yankee besides Jacoby Ellsbury (yes, he is still somehow on the team), Bird suffered yet another setback early this season. He was transferred to the 60-day IL on May 12th and his future with the Yankees is quite uncertain. Even if he recovers from the injury and is eligible to return to the field, the team may not have a spot for him. There’s a good chance Bird’s days in the pinstripes are a thing of the past.
A low-risk high reward signing this offseason, the Yankees nabbed the former Gold Glove winner on a one-year league minimum deal. He suffered a left calf strain just a few games into the season and has been on the IL ever since.
With the latest report saying Tulowitzki is at home evaluating “everything,” it’s not out of the question that he decides to retire. He’s already 34 years old and battling back from an injury that continues to linger. Even if he fully recovers, similar to Bird, there might not be a spot on the current Yankees roster for him. Only time will tell what Tulo’s future with the Yankees is, but it certainly looks bleak at the moment.
Once the injured Yankees get healthy, it will be interesting to see how Aaron Boone shifts the lineup. As long players like Urshela and LeMahieu continue to perform, they’ll keep their starting spots. Here’s what the Yankees’ rotation and lineup could look like once their team gets healthy.
Catcher – Gary Sanchez
First Base – D.J. Lemahieu
Second Base – Gleyber Torres
Shortstop – Didi Gregorius
Third Base – Gio Urshela
Right Field – Aaron Judge
Center Field – Aaron Hicks
Left Field – Giancarlo Stanton
Designated Hitter – Luke Voit
Reserves – Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier/Cameron Maybin, Austin Romine, TBD
When the Yankees’ lineup is healthy, you can expect Boone to shuffle around players in both the infield and the outfield on a regular basis. With the team already experimenting LeMahieu at first base, expect this to be a viable option moving forward. The Yankees would be able to make this switch easily, while still keeping Voit in the lineup at his most impactful position as DH.
Pitcher 1 – Luis Severino
Pitcher 2 – Masahiro Tanaka
Pitcher 3 – James Paxton
Pitcher 4 – J.A. Happ
Pitcher 5 – C.C. Sabathia
Reserves – Domingo German and Jordan Montgomery
Once back and fully healthy, the Yankees will essentially run a seven-man rotation. Outside of Severino, Tanaka and Paxton, expect the Yankees to fluctuate between the fourth and fifth spot. There’s also a good possibility that German or Montgomery could be moved to the bullpen.
Already sitting in the driver’s seat of the AL East, the Yankees possess a roster with the most depth in the MLB. Once they are back and healthy, it’s World Series or bust for them in 2019.