Posted on June 18, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
If you thought that New York Yankees were good up to this point in the season, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The Bronx Bombers are set to get two of their biggest bombers back in action this week. On Tuesday, the Yankees officially activated Giancarlo Stanton from the Injured List. There is also a strong possibility that Aaron Judge will also be activated by the end of the week.
Stanton had just 15 plate appearances before going on the IL on April 1 with strained biceps. He’s had virtually no impact on the season despite the Yankees sitting in first place in the AL East. However, that’s about to change, as Stanton is in the lineup as the Yankees begin an important series Tuesday against the second-place Rays.
“It’s been a long time,” Stanton said of his absence. “It feels longer than it has been for me. I’m excited to be here. The boys have been fun to watch while I’ve been gone, so it’s going to be good to file in and battle with them.”
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After going on the IL with a biceps injury, Stanton also aggravated a previous shoulder injury and was hit by a pitch in the knee, leading to a calf strain. But after playing in six minor league rehab games, Stanton is fit and ready to return to the big leagues. He also has a chance to hit the ground running after hitting five home runs in those six games. Stanton had 38 home runs and 100 RBIs in his first season with the Yankees last year. After missing year half the year, he won’t match those numbers in 2019, but he should still make a significant impact in an already potent lineup.
Meanwhile, Judge is also making his way back to the majors. He’s been out for nearly two months, going to the IL on April 21 with an oblique injury. But Judge began a minor league rehab assignment in triple-A last Friday. Barring a setback, he should be on pace to return this weekend when the Yankees play a four-game series against the Houston Astros, who are currently tied with the Dodgers for the most wins in baseball.
When Judge returns, the Yankees will finally have their first-choice outfield in place with Stanton in left field, Aaron Hicks in center field, and judge in right field. With Hicks missing the early part of the season, those three have yet to share the field this season. The Yankees will also have veterans Brett Gardner and Cameron Maybin as reserve outfielders, allowing Stanton and Judge to rest when they need it.
Stanton and Judge will also be providing even more power to a lineup that has four other players who have hit at least 15 home runs this season, including Edwin Encarnacion, who was acquired by New York over the weekend. Gary Sanchez, Luke Voit, and Gleyber Torres also have at least 15 homers this year, giving the Yankees a lineup full of home run threats.
“We were already dangerous and now it’s another icing to the cake,” Stanton said of the team’s trade for Encarnacion. “We’ve got to build this together. Once we’re all on full force, it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m just glad to be back and Aaron’s not far behind.”
As mentioned, the Yankees lead the AL East despite spending the last two months without Stanton and Judge. With those two players returning, the team’s slim 1.5-game lead figures to increase in the weeks to come. At this point, the Yankees seem to have survived most of the serious injuries they’ve endured this season. Barring even more injury setbacks, there may be no stopping them from winning the AL East in 2019.