NEW YORK – Here are four major concerns for the Yankees for manager Aaron Boone and general manager Brian Cashman before they face the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on Friday night.
What happens to the infield when? Didi gregorius Returns?
It seems that Didi Gregorius (surgery of Tommy John) can be a week or less back from the disabled list. He is currently at Triple-A Scranton / Wilkes-Barre. When he returns, he will obviously badume the shortstop position every day, although from the beginning he will have some additional rest days while he acclimates to the game every day.
We know that means that Gleyber Torres moves to second base every day. Gio Urshela has been so good at third base. It will remain as the owner. But what about first base?
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DJ LeMahieu, despite his limited experience there, would be a defensive improvement over Luke Voit, who could slip into a semiregular designated hitter role. And LeMahieu could still see the time at second base and third base, since Boone seeks to give Torres and Urshela days off.
Voit has said that he likes DH, since he has done a lot in the minor leagues. So, although some players feel that the work takes them out of the rhythm they were accustomed to when they played on the field every day, Carlos Beltran and Giancarlo Stanton come to mind, that should not be a problem for Voit.
Who has left when Giancarlo Stanton Returns?
On Thursday, Boone said Stanton (left calf strain) hit the cage, which means he is not far from starting a new minor league rehab badignment. If that goes well, the last one does not, so it's at least medium-sized if: Stanton could be back … maybe a couple of weeks?
That will create a traffic jam. The return of Stanton would mean that there would be six players for five places. These are four field posts and one DH point. Cashman will have to decide who has to leave Stanton (stay), Aaron Hicks (stay), Brett Gardner (stay), Cameron Maybin (in trouble), Clint Frazier (in trouble) and Kendrys Morales (in trouble).
The easiest move could be to degrade Clint Frazier, since that would allow him to play every day in Triple-A and allow the Yankees to keep all the bodies. But leaving Morales aside also seems to be a great possibility. Morales has not hit (.139 BA, 45 PA) since the Yankees added him and with Voit and LeMahieu, the Yankees do not need him at first base. Maybin has been producing offensively and at least he seems a solid defender.
And how will Stanton's return affect? Brett Gardner?
It depends on who stays and who leaves. If the Yankees keep Frazier and cut ties with Maybin or Morales, they could allow him to share the time with Gardner. Maybe play Stanton in left field against lefties, with Frazier in right field. And against the righties, Gardner could have some starts on the left with Stanton, Maybin or Frazier in right field. That said, Gardner had a much better May (.269 / .314 / .500) than April (.221 / .325 / .423) and could still be online for regular service.
How soon Aaron Judge Start hitting in the cage?
That is important. It would be the closest thing to him to enter the rehabilitation games of the minor leagues.
On Thursday, the Judge played balls from the wall in right field at Yankee Stadium and pitched. The judge has been in the IL with a left oblique strain. He says he does not feel pain in him and, if you watched him on Thursday, he looked strong, spinning and spinning. He did not look hurt.
Of course, the Yankees will take it very slowly with him, but they will also depend on him to tell them when he is ready. That could be earlier than it seemed a couple of weeks ago.
Brendan Kuty can be reached in firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BrendanKutyNJ. Find NJ.com Yankees on Facebook.