ST. LOUIS — Aaron Boone again said Anthony Rizzo was feeling “better.” But Sunday's game represented a third straight on the bench for the first baseman, a late scratch from Friday night’s lineup with lower-back tightness.
And while Rizzo and Boone said throughout the weekend that the back isn’t as bad as early July, when spasms forced Rizzo to miss four games, he seems in line to miss at least that many this time around. It would appear to be a long shot that the Yankees would play Rizzo on Monday night in Seattle after the nearly five-hour flight there from St. Louis.
After the game, Rizzo said he was “better” but wasn't more specific and was noncommittal about Monday in Seattle. “You kind of know when it’s manageable,” he said. “And like I said [Saturday], just being smart [with it].”
The Yankees lost a season-high fifth straight game on Sunday, and Rizzo said: “Whenever you can’t play, winning or losing, it sucks. We’re in a skid right now, it’s part of baseball, and it’s better to happen now than later.”
Rizzo, who has said this same back issue generally crops up at least once a year, is hitting .227 but has 27 homers and an .858 OPS in 98 games.
To make room on the roster for new addition Frankie Montas, who started Sunday, rookie reliever Ron Marinaccio was sent back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Marinaccio has made the most of his time in the big leagues this season, posting a 2.03 ERA in 23 games and striking out 32 in 26 2/3 innings.
“Similar conversation [I had] with Clarke Schmidt,” Boone said of the righthander, who has pitched well when given chances in the majors this year but hasn’t been able to stick on the 26-man roster for reasons similar to those causing Marinaccio to be sent down. “Two guys that have certainly proven that they can pitch up here and pitch well up here and have been a factor for us winning games this year. Unfortunately for them, it’s that point in their career where they have [minor-league] options.”
Aaron Hicks, who had been 0-for-32, had an RBI single (albeit one with an exit velocity of 59.3 mph) in the Yankees’ three-run second inning. He wound up with three hits and a walk . . . Aaron Judge had four RBIs to run his season total to 97, which pushed him ahead of the Mets' Pete Alonso (95) for most in the majors . . . Frankie Montas became the first pitcher to go three innings or less with at least six earned runs allowed in his Yankees debut since Adam Warren on June 29, 2012 (Warren allowed six runs in 2 1/3 innings against the White Sox).