Posted on June 26, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
For the New York Yankees, it must have seemed too good to be true. As it turns out, it was. Barely a week after outfielder Giancarlo Stanton returned from the Injured List, setting up the Yankees to finally have a fully healthy outfield, the slugger is back on the day-10 IL with a knee injury. The Yankees made the move after Wednesday’s win over the Blue Jays, meaning Stanton will miss this weekend’s series with the Red Sox in London.
Stanton initially went to the IL on April 1 with strained biceps. While he was coming back from that injury, he dealt with multiple leg issues that further delayed his return to the majors. He was finally activated last Tuesday and was soon joined by fellow outfielder Aaron Judge, who was also on the IL for more than two months.
Unfortunately for Stanton, he injured his right knee in Tuesday’s game while sliding head-first into third base. He stayed in the game for a couple of innings but left before taking his next at-bat. An MRI performed Wednesday showed a strain of the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in Stanton’s right knee. The Yankees don’t believe the injury is particularly serious. But they aren’t going to take any chances and have decided to put him on the IL.
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“He came in today and there’s no swelling in there, but he’s sore and stiff,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters Wednesday, trying to downplay the injury before Stanton was placed on the IL. “He’s just kind of going through treatment right now.”
According to Boone, the plan is for Stanton to be re-evaluated in 10 days when he’s eligible to come off the IL. In addition to missing the two games with the Red Sox, Stanton will miss a two-game set with the Mets and may or may not be ready to return for an important four-game series next weekend against the Rays. At this point, it’s likely that Stanton won’t return until after the all-star break, making the first half of his season a virtual wash due to injury.
In the nine games Stanton has actually played this season, he’s hitting .290 with an OPS of .840. When he’s been on the field, Stanton has had no trouble contributing. Even with a plethora of other power hitters in the lineup, Stanton is someone the Yankees would like to have around the second half of the season.
“This is a great player, important to our club,” said Boone. “Obviously, when he’s going well, he’s one of those rare guys that can impact the game in a profound way.”
The silver lining for the Yankees is that replacing injured players has become old hat for them. While Stanton is out, Brett Gardner will likely be the primary left fielder. Mike Tauchman, who was called up when Stanton was placed on the IL, will also get some playing time. Of course, it also helps that Judge is also back from his injury. Nevertheless, it’s disappointing for the Yankees to see Stanton return to the IL so soon after being activated. Despite leading the American League in wins, the Bronx Bombers may not be able to reach their full potential with Stanton on the IL.