Giancarlo Stanton’s return to the New York Yankees lineup has been delayed once again.
On Wednesday, the team announced its slugging designated hitter has been diagnosed with a mild left calf strain while on a rehab assignment with the Tampa Tarpons, the Yankees’ high A-Ball affiliate.
The new injury — Stanton’s third already this season — will extend his absence until mid-June. So far, Stanton has been limited to three MLB games this season. He’s gone 2-for-8 with seven walks, but has yet to hit an extra-base hit.
The Yankees were hoping to have Stanton back as early as this weekend. Now they’re dealing with a new injury that is proving difficult to explain.
How did Stanton's new injury occur?
Stanton believes he first hurt his calf last Thursday after being hit by a pitch near his left knee during a live batting practice session.
Speaking to the media before Wednesday's game against the Baltimore Orioles, Yankees manager Aaron Boone echoed Stanton’s explanation. However, Boone and Yankees beat writers alike were struggling to make the correlation.
I can’t explain how a hit by pitch would cause a calf strain. Neither could Boone.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) May 22, 2019
For what it’s worth, Stanton was in Tampa’s lineup Monday, going 1-for-3 with a home run and two strikeouts in his first official rehab game. However, he was scratched from Tuesday’s lineup when the calf tightened up.
Some have theorized that Stanton is actually dealing with swelling resulting from a bruise. Others have suggested that Stanton overcompensated for the soreness stemming from being hit by the pitch.
This isn’t to say the Yankees are hiding anything, but it seems the exact how’s and why’s will remain something of a mystery.
The good news is that this injury seems to be relatively minor. Nonetheless, fans have to be wondering if they’ll ever see a completely healthy version of Stanton in 2019.
Giancarlo Stanton's 2019 injuries
Stanton is one of several Yankees players to hit the injured list in 2019. His situation is unique though because he's been sidelined by three different injuries.
Stanton was first placed on the injured list on April 1 with a strained left biceps. On April 24, he developed shoulder soreness that shut him down for another three weeks.
Details on Stanton’s first two injuries were also vague, though it’s obvious neither were too serious. What is serious is that Stanton has never really been the definition of durable. He’s played more than 123 games only four times in 10 MLB seasons.
When healthy, Stanton’s an impact player. He won the National League MVP award in 2017 after leading the league with 59 homers and 132 RBI. He played another full season in 2018, leading the Yankees with 38 home runs.
Somehow, the Yankees have managed to survive without Stanton, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino and a host of other key players. They’re currently leading the AL East by two games behind their 30-17 record. Sooner or later though, they’re going to need Stanton and company back healthy and productive.
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