Another day, another member of the New York Yankees is down. The Yankees got word from their medical staff that outfielder and designated hitter, Giancarlo Stanton, has a Grade 1 calf strain injury. Stanton is expected to miss spring training and, possibly, Opening Day while recovering from the mild calf injury.
The Bronx ER nightmare continues for a second season. Last season, the Yankees were decimated with injuries but, somehow, still won 103 games with minor league replacements and bench players like Gio Urshela and Domingo German who didn’t think they’d get thrust into the limelight.
Since spring training began, the Yankees lost two starting pitchers and their high-priced slugger. Starting pitcher James Paxton had back surgery and should miss up to four months while recovering. Luis Severino, the Yankees ace in 2018, is dunzo for the season with an elbow injury that requires Tommy John surgery.
After losing two starting pitchers, it was time for a position player to catch the injury bug. Yankees fans are lamenting the fact that Stanton is hurt again. Like Yogi Berra once said, “It’s like deja-vu all over again.”
“Giancarlo Stanton basically has a Grade 1 calf strain,” confirmed Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “He will be down for a little bit. It’s disappointing because you want to get guys built up, but it is just a bump in the road and we are equipped to handle it.”
Stanton Injury … Again
Stanton, 30, played in only 18 games with the Yankees in 2019. He played one series to start the season before he was sidelined with a calf injury, which was the first of multiple injuries that kept him out of the lineup. Stanton also nursed a knee injury, a biceps injury, and had shoulder problems all last season.
In 18 games in 2019, Stanton hit .288 with three home runs and 13 RBI. Stanton earned $26 million for that minuscule production.
In his first full season with the Yankees in 2018, Stanton struggled at the plate, hitting only .266 with 38 home runs and 100 RBI. For many players, that would be a career-season, but in Stanton’s case, the Yankees were paying him a ridiculous amount of money to hit many more home runs.
Stanton is being shut down by the Yankees for at least two weeks with the injury, but it could be longer. The Yankees were already short one outfielder with CF Aaron Hicks recovering from Tommy John surgery. Hicks isn’t slated to return until midseason.
“It will probably put us up against it a little bit,” said Boone. “I would say there’s time for him to get back, but then getting built up and stuff, we will see.”
Although it’s only a precaution, the Yankees sat Aaron Judge in the first week of spring training. He had a sore shoulder and has yet to take live batting practice. The last thing the Yanks need is another season with a sidelined Stanton or Judge.
In the meantime, left-hitting OF Mike Tauchman will take over for Stanton in LF until he returns from the calf injury. The Yanks also have Clint Frazier on the bench.
Bronx Bombers Busto?
In his final season with the Miami Marlins in 2017, Stanton bashed a career-high 59 home runs. When the Yankees acquired Stanton in a trade with the Marlins, fans were expecting a reincarnation of Mantle and Maris and the M&M Boys with Stanton and Judge (who smacked 52 home runs as a rookie to set a new MLB record).
As a Yanks fan myself, I had hoped that Stanton and Judge could hit 100 home runs combined. That never happened in 2018 because Judge missed 50 games with a fractured hand. Stanton played almost a full season, but got off to a slow start and only finished with 38 dingers.
AARON JUDGE / GIANCARLO STANTON HRs
In 2019, Judge missed 60 games with an oblique injury. Judge finished last season with 27 home runs. Combined with Stanton’s three, that meant Stanton/Judge only smacked 30 home runs. That’s significantly less than anyone anticipated.
Despite the fact that Judge and Stanton hit only 30 combined homers due to the injury bug, the Yankees broke their own franchise record for most home runs in a season. They set the record in 2018, but eclipsed that mark last season. The Yankees hit 306 homers, but the Minnesota Twins outslugged the Bronx Bombers in 2019. The “Bomba Squad” set the new mark with 307 home runs.
Judge missed the first week of spring training, yet expected to play Opening Day. At this point, it would be foolish to back Stanton in any home run prop bet. With the Yankees still hexed by an injury bug, it would be wise to consult a voodoo priestess.
According to the Mirage Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the New York Yankees are 4/1 odds to win the 2020 World Series.