Yankees' Andrew Benintendi heads to first as he hits a...

Yankees' Andrew Benintendi heads to first as he hits a solo home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Anaheim, Calif.  Credit: AP/Mark J. Terrill

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Aaron  Boone said after Sunday's game that a CT scan showed Andrew Benintendi broke the hook of the hamate bone in his right wrist Friday. Though neither Boone nor Benintendi could or would say outright that it is a season-ending injury, it likely is, as surgery eventually will be required.

As Benintendi put it late Sunday afternoon: “It’s not something I could play through right now.”

Before leaving the field Friday after hurting himself on a swing, Benintendi told Boone he felt a “pop” in his wrist.

A look at Judge's numbers

Aaron Judge set career highs with his 53rd homer and 115th RBI on Sunday, eclipsing the 52 homers and 114 RBIs he had in 2017, his rookie season.

He has 17 more homers than runner-up Kyle Schwarber of the Phillies and eight more RBIs than runner-up Paul Goldschmidt of the Cardinals. He has scored 107 runs, two more than runner-up Mookie Betts of the Dodgers.

Judge also leads MLB in OPS at 1.075; Goldschmidt is second at 1.034. Judge ranks third in OBP at .401 behind Goldschmidt (.417) and the Padres' Juan Soto (.411).

Given his slow start, Judge's numbers are even more remarkable. After recording only one home run and two RBIs in the Yankees' first 13 games, he has 52 homers and 113 RBIs in 117 games since then (he did not play in four of the Yankees' 134 games). That pace projects to 72 homers in a 162-game season.

Judge needs eight homers in the Yankees' final 28 games to match Roger Maris' American League record of 61. That projects to 46 homers in 162 games, a pace he obviously has shown he is capable of producing (if opponents continue to pitch to him). Given the feeble hitting by the majority of the other Yankees of late, his numbers are even more remarkable. If his teammates continue to struggle at the plate, why would other teams let Judge beat them? 

Stanton’s struggles

Giancarlo Stanton went 0-for-5, dropping him to 4-for-35 (.114) since coming off the IL. Stanton, who flied to deep right to leave the bases loaded in the fifth,  has four hits in his last 46 at-bats, none for extra bases.

“With G, he’s unique and it’s always a bit of a timing thing in finding that,” Boone said before the game. “So probably just a little off. He’s missing some fastballs in the zone. He’s probably expanded a little bit here on secondary pitches out of the zone. And usually with Giancarlo, as much as anyone, it’s just getting into that good timing and rhythm that puts him in position to do the kind of damage we know he can.”

DJ LeMahieu has one hit in his last 29 at-bats and two hits in his last 38.

Cabrera bats third

Rookie Oswaldo Cabrera’s solid and energetic play at whatever position the Yankees have put him at in his two weeks in the majors has earned him regular playing time.

He found himself rewarded even further on Sunday,  batting third and starting in rightfield. His well-hit sacrifice fly to leftfield in the seventh inning drove in what proved to be the winning run in the Yankees' 2-1 victory over the Rays.

Boone said before the game that the decision was twofold: it was an attempt to “jump-start” a struggling offense, and the switch-hitting Cabrera also helped diversify a lineup that has been missing lefthanded hitters Benintendi, Matt Carpenter and Anthony Rizzo.

“With Benny going down and not having Rizzo, you miss a little bit of that lefthanded balance,” Boone said. “Still trying to create balance within the order. That as much as anything, but definitely trying to find a little mix that gets us jump-started here in the short term.”

With the same thought in mind, hyped rookie shortstop prospect Oswald Peraza, called up before this series, got his second straight start, this one at second. He went 0-for-3 and was hit by a pitch.  

Effross getting closer

Boone said righthander Scott Effross, on the IL since Aug. 21 with a right shoulder strain, began his throwing program Thursday and should be able to throw his first bullpen session this Friday. 

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