If there was any doubt whether Giancarlo Stanton was ready to return to the New York Yankees lineup, he is quickly erasing it.
The hulking slugger moved his rehab assignment to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday, where he launched his fifth home run in four rehab games. Including three games with High-A Tampa, Stanton is 6-for-13 with five homers and five strikeouts.
Giancarlo Stanton goes... deep! A behemoth three-run blast and the RailRiders trail 8-3 in the third. pic.twitter.com/LiMxHx0GqE— SWB RailRiders (@swbrailriders) June 15, 2019
Stanton was joined by fellow outfielder Aaron Judge at Triple-A, and while Judge was hitless with three strikeouts, the duo’s return to the majors is imminent.
“It’s good to get results. More importantly is that he’s feeling good,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Stanton on Thursday, via MLB.com. “I spoke to him about an hour ago, and even in the conversations I’ve had with him in the last few days, I could tell, physically, he’s in a really good place.”
Barring a setback, Boone said that Stanton could join the team following the weekend series on Tuesday. Judge, meanwhile could return shortly thereafter in the homestand, although the team wants him to play back-to-back games in the field, and he served as the designated hitter on Friday.
What could Stanton and Judge’s return mean to the Yankees?
Few teams have faced as many injuries as the Yankees have this season, and the injury bug has bitten nearly all their best players, too. Stanton only played three games before going down with a biceps — and later shoulder — strain, while Judge has been out since April 21 with a left oblique strain. Six different starting pitchers have landed on the injured list, as well as key hitters Gary Sánchez, Miguel Andujar, Clint Frazier and Didi Gregorius.
But despite trotting out what often looks like a Triple-A lineup, the Yankees have playing exceedingly well. Since Judge first hit the IL, the team is 31-17. Overall, they’re 41-27, which is only a half game behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East and 4.5 games up on the second Wild Card team.
Even more impressively, the Yankees have kept up their power numbers without their top sluggers. The Bronx Bombers have homered in 17 straight games dating back to May 26, which is their longest such streak since at least 1994.
Through six combined seasons in New York, Stanton and Judge have homered every 16.5 plate appearances, and they will certainly be welcomed back as the team looks to break its own major league home run record. With the team’s London Series against the Boston Red Sox at the end of the month, the Yankees should soon be back to full strength.
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