The Yankees and their slugger, Giancarlo Stanton, went in different directions after Wednesday afternoon's 8-7 walk-off victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at the Stadium. One— a top team in the American League — left for London, eyes set on a two-game series against the Boston Red Sox this weekend. The other — one of their marquee sluggers — headed for the injured list once again.
Stanton was placed on the 10-day IL with a sprained posterior cruciate ligament, manager Aaron Boone said after the victory. Stanton injured his right knee Tuesday night on a slide into third base.
Boone said Stanton will be re-evaluated in 10 days, but he expects the absence to stretch longer than that.
“I think it kind of explains the pain he was in when he came in,” Boone said. “I’m frustrated for him and how much he’s worked to get back and the couple of setbacks that he’s had along the way getting back. It felt like he was kind of starting to get in the groove a little bit with us. We have to deal with it and hopefully get him right here at some point to get back.”
Outfielder Mike Tauchman will replace Stanton on the roster. Tauchman hit .212 with four home runs and 14 RBIs in 37 games (104 at-bats) this season.
The Yankees were bullish about Stanton’s status and ability to make the London trip before the game. Boone said Stanton was experiencing “soreness” and ‘was stiff’ when he came in Wednesday morning, but was encouraged by the lack of swelling in the knee. He went so far as to say that Stanton ‘probably’ would make the trip to London, but that obviously changed upon further evaluation from team doctors.
The injury is just another chapter in Stanton’s stop-and-go season — one that, for him, has been mostly stop. He missed two and a half months with a torn bicep, an absence that was prolonged by shoulder and calf issues. He returned on June 18 and hit his first home run of the season in Monday’s 10-8 win over Toronto. He hit .290 with the home run and seven RBIs in nine games (31 at-bats) this season.
“It’s very important,” Boone said before the game about getting Stanton healthy. “This is a great player and very important to our club. Obviously, when he’s going well he’s one of those rare guys that can impact a game in a profound way and carry a club when he’s rolling hot… I feel like, over the last couple days, the timing and the at-bats have been getting really good.”
In the grand scheme of things, the Yankees didn’t miss Stanton all that much when he was gone the first time — a microcosm of the next-man-up mentality that the season has taken on. After Wednesday’s victory, the Yankees still had the best record in the American League, still sat in first place by a healthy 6 ½ games, and still ranked fourth in the majors in home runs with 132.
But Stanton is still an integral part of the offense who worked hard to make it back and now faces another uphill climb.
“He’s a big strong man and he’s going to recover fast,” Aaron Judge said. “He’s a big part of this team and a big part of this offense. I just want him to be healthy for the stretch down the road. I know he has to sit out, maybe another week or two, but I just want him in the long haul.”