The Yankees' Gleyber Torres reacts after he struck out looking...

The Yankees' Gleyber Torres reacts after he struck out looking during the second inning of a game against the Braves on Aug. 12 at Yankee Stadium. Credit: AP/Kathy Willens

The problem with the “next man up” mantra that has been so much a part of the last two Yankees regular seasons is that even the deepest teams eventually run out of men.

It’s too early to say the Yankees are at that point, but Friday brought the kind of news that fans of the team are getting used to: another player to the injured list. In this case, there were  three of them — shortstop Gleyber Torres, lefthanded starter James Paxton and lefty reliever Luis Avilan.  

Torres, who was replaced before the top of the fourth inning Wednesday afternoon against the Rays after stumbling out of the batter’s box in the bottom of the third inning, was put on the IL with left quadriceps and left hamstring strains. Paxton, who had lower back surgery Feb. 5 and who has been searching for consistent fastball velocity since spring training restarted July 3, has a Grade 1 left forearm strain, something he felt during Wednesday’s loss. Avilan is experiencing left shoulder inflammation.

Paxton  is 1-1 with a 6.64 ERA in five starts. Torres, moved back to his natural position of shortstop this season, not only has struggled in the field with a team-high five errors but at the plate, hitting .231 with one homer, six RBIs and a .636 OPS. Avilan has a 4.32 ERA in 10 appearances.

The trio, whose timelines for returning are not yet clear,  give the Yankees 10 players on the injured list, including  key hitters Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton and bullpen stalwarts Tommy Kahnle and Zack Britton, who was added Thursday.

The Yankees, whose weekend series against the Mets at Citi Field was postponed after two members of the Mets tested positive for COVID-19, spent the offseason overhauling their medical staff and protocols after placing a record 30 players on the IL last season, one in which they went 103-59 in coasting to the AL East crown.  

To this point, the overhauls have not born fruit, certainly when it comes to keeping players on the field.  

Before  being swept at home this week by the Rays (who fell into a virtual tie for the AL East lead after losing to Toronto on Friday night), the Yankees had been playing some of the best baseball in the sport. They continue to be a near-lock to make the playoffs at 16-9 — 1-6 against the Rays and 15-3 against everyone else.  

Still, as the Rays series started to show, a team can lose only so much offensive firepower before it begins to have an impact. Though Rays pitchers are more than capable of holding down any lineup, their job certainly was made easier by not having to face Judge, Stanton and LeMahieu.

Before Thursday’s loss, Aaron Boone, not for the first time, discussed the obstacles in attempting to keep players on the field in this most unique of seasons, one that started with a rushed three weeks of Spring Training II.

“It was a quicker ramp-up into the intensity of a major league environment,’’ Boone said. “That’s why, going back to the start of all this, we were mindful of the 60 games and the urgency [of the short season], but also trying to be mindful of players’ health and build-up as best as possible. You try to strike that balance and assess where guys are all the time.”

An increasing amount of them can be found on the IL.

“It’s part of the game,” Luke Voit said Thursday. “It’s crazy it’s happening again, but we’re going to fight through it.”

Yankees acquire pitcher. The Yankees acquired righthander Addison Russ from the Phillies in exchange for righthander David Hale. Russ, 25, is 15-10 with a 2.48 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 152 2/3 innings over three minor league seasons in the Phillies' organization, pitching no higher than Double-A. He was assigned to the Yankees' alternate site in Moosic, Pennsylvania.  Hale, 32, with a 3.00 ERA in five relief appearances, likely will become one of Joe Girardi’s primary options out of what has been a mostly subpar bullpen this season.

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