Bouncing back from losing two of three to the Orioles should be no big deal for the Yankees. Recovering from the loss of two of their key lineup cogs figures to be a more difficult task.
The Yanks placed both former 2017 National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton and reigning American League Rookie of the Year runner-up Miguel Andujar on the 10-day injured list Monday. Stanton is down with a biceps strain, while Andujar is battling a strained shoulder.
Stanton suffered the injury on an awkward swing Sunday and was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain. He will be shut down for at least 10 days before being re-evaluated. Manager Aaron Boone said he hopes to have Stanton back before the end of the month, but that seems like far from a safe bet at this point.
"I don't like it at all," Stanton said. "I just worked for six weeks to get here, plus the offseason. I'd much rather this would have popped in [during] Spring Training, but it's where we're at. I don't have to start from scratch when I come back, but I've just got to build everything up and make sure everything is ready to go when I'm back."
Mike Tauchman started Monday in left field, which is where Stanton had been playing with Brett Gardner sliding over to center to cover for Aaron Hicks (back). The Bombers also recalled Clint Frazier and Tyler Wade.
Frazier is the biggest name of the trio and has the most upside, and Boone indicated that the 24-year-old should see the lion’s share of playing time in left while Stanton is out. The former top prospect had his 2018 season wrecked by concussion issues, but he’s healthy now and said Monday that he’s “feeling the best I've felt at the plate in a long time.” Frazier is a worthy pick-up even if his time as a regular could be brief.
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While it appears that Stanton’s absence might be relatively short, the situation with Andujar, unfortunately, is much bleaker.
Tests have revealed a small labrum tear in Andujar’s right shoulder, an injury he suffered on a slide back into third base Sunday. Initial tests showed that he still had strength in the shoulder, which has the club hopeful that he can rest and rehab the injury. It’s certainly possible that rehab won’t work, though, which would mean season-ending surgery. He’ll be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Even if the rest and rehab route does work, Andujar figures to be sidelined for a while. Also, when you’re dealing with a labrum tear, any awkward swing or dive has the potential to make the injury worse. Simply put, it’s hard to feel optimistic right now if you’re an Andujar owner.
If there’s any good news here, it’s that the Yankees have a pretty nice backup plan for the hot corner in DJ LeMahieu.
The Yanks signed LeMahieu with the intent of using him as a utility infielder, but their biggest need for the 30-year-old obviously is now at third base. The former Rockie’s fantasy value appeared cloudy coming into the season with no set position, but Andujar’s injury should firm up his playing time. LeMahieu has reached base in eight of his first 12 plate appearances of 2019.
He may have started the Indians’ fourth game of the season, but it would be a mischaracterization to refer to Mike Clevinger as a No. 4 starter.
The 28-year-old proved again Monday in his first outing of the season that he’s a top-of-the-rotation talent, as he held the White Sox to just one single and three walks over seven scoreless innings in chilly Cleveland. Clevinger set a new career high with 12 strikeouts and garnered 21 swings and misses among his 106 pitches.
Unfortunately, Clevinger did not walk away with a victory. He departed the game with a narrow 1-0 lead and that advantage quickly disappeared when Adam Cimber, Oliver Perez and Jon Edwards combined to allow three runs in the eighth inning. The Indians did wind up winning that contest following an eighth-inning rally of their own.
Clevinger burst onto the scene in 2017 when he posted a 3.11 ERA with 137 strikeouts across 121 2/3 innings for the Tribe. He then took a big step forward in 2018 in his first full major league season with a 3.02 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 207/67 K/BB ratio over 200 frames.
The big drop in Clevinger’s walk rate last year was particularly encouraging, and he accomplished it while also adding velocity. The right-hander’s fantasy owners would be happy with a repeat of last season, but there might be even more upside here.
Pete Alonso picked a good time for his first major league home run, and it was a bomb.
After being retired in his first four plate appearances Monday in Miami, Alonso teed off against Marlins reliever Drew Steckenrider in the top of the ninth inning, drilling a three-run home run over the center field wall that traveled an estimated 444 feet. The blast would extend the Mets’ lead to 7-3 and hung on after a shaky appearance from closer Edwin Diaz.
After being retired by three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer in his first three plate appearances of the season, Alonso has since gone 7-for-14 with one home run, three doubles, two walks and six RBI. He’s also batted second for the Mets in each of their first four games (although he will receive a day off Tuesday).
Alonso slugged his way onto the Mets’ Opening Day roster with a 1.006 OPS and four long balls this spring, and he obviously hasn’t slowed down since the regular season began. Some bumps in the road are expected – especially since Alonso has some swing-and-miss in his game – but the power has been as advertised for the top prospect and he’s occupying a prime spot in the Mets’ lineup.
National League Quick Hits: Fernando Tatis Jr. slugged his first major league home run Monday versus the Diamondbacks. … Clayton Kershaw (shoulder) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday. … The Rockies officially placed Daniel Murphy on the 10-day injured list Monday with an avulsion fracture of the left index finger. … Julio Urias fanned seven across five shutout frames Monday against the Giants. … A.J. Minter (shoulder) is scheduled to throw live batting practice on Tuesday and be activated from the injured list when first eligible Thursday. … Chris Archer struck out eight batters over five shutout innings in his first start of the year Monday versus the Cardinals. … Starlin Castro went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer, three RBI and a walk against the Mets on Monday. … Colin Moran went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI in the Pirates' loss to the Cardinals on Monday.
American League Quick Hits: David Hess was pulled after 6 1/3 hitless innings against the Blue Jays on Monday, recording eight strikeouts along the way. … The Red Sox officially announced the signing of Xander Bogaerts to a six-year, $120 million contract extension. … Jay Bruce homered for the third game in a row Monday versus the Angels. … Andrew Heaney has been diagnosed with "chronic changes" in his left elbow and will be cleared to resume throwing in 7-10 days following a cortisone shot. … Chad Pinder hit an RBI single and two-run homer Monday against the Red Sox. … Kevin Kiermaier had a three-run homer, a double and a sac fly as the Rays defeated the Rockies on Monday. … Trey Mancini went 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBI against the Blue Jays on Monday. … Brad Peacock allowed just one run on two hits over 6 2/3 innings while striking out five in a win over the Rangers on Monday. … Randal Grichuk homered and doubled in a losing cause against the Orioles on Monday. … Domingo German fanned seven while holding the Tigers to an unearned run over five innings to pick up a victory on Monday. … Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Monday that Aaron Hicks (back) has "still got some weeks to go". … The Rays placed Joey Wendle on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. … Aaron Brooks struck out six over six shutout frames Monday versus the Red Sox.