LOS ANGELES — Just when it appeared the Yankees were becoming fairly healthy, reality reared its ugly head (again).
Josh Donaldson, Giancarlo Stanton and Tommy Kahnle came off the injured list in advance of Friday night’s game against the Dodgers, but two Yankees were added to the list Saturday.
Outfielder Greg Allen was placed on the IL with a right hip flexor strain, which occurred during his first at-bat in Friday night’s 8-4 loss. Soft-tossing righty Ryan Weber, who recently had carved out a multi-purpose role in the bullpen, was lost with a right forearm strain.
Utilityman Oswaldo Cabrera, optioned to the minors after Wednesday night’s series finale in Seattle in advance of Donaldson being activated, was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take Allen’s spot. Lefty Nick Ramirez, who has a 2.00 ERA in six games in two stints with the big-league club, was recalled for Weber’s spot.
“I was finally getting in a groove and this happens. It stings,” said Weber, who first felt the discomfort in the forearm while warming up in the bullpen Friday. It gradually became worse during a two-inning outing in which he allowed two hits and a run with a strikeout. In his second year with the Yankees, he has a 3.14 ERA in eight games.
The speedy Allen, who suffered his injury toward the end of his first at-bat Friday in the third inning, was signed to the roster May 20 to replace the DFA’d Aaron Hicks and already had shown himself to be a threat on the bases and a capable outfielder.
“Any time it happens, you feel for the individual,” Aaron Boone said of the injuries. “Unfortunately, you know it’s part of it. Try to get them the best care and get ‘em back. It’s part of it, and another opportunity for someone else.”
With Harrison Bader placed on the IL earlier in the week with a hamstring strain and the loss of Allen, that leaves Isiah Kiner-Falefa as the everyday centerfielder. He never played center — or any outfield spot — in his career before March 17, when the Yankees put him there in an exhibition game against the Tigers. But Kiner-Falefa, last year’s starting shortstop, has taken to the super-utility role.
“He’s looked more natural [in the outfield] than he did at short in some ways,” one rival American League scout said. “[Short-term] they’ll be fine.”
Luis Severino, shelled Friday night, occasionally has been guilty of tipping his pitches in his career. It could have been an issue Friday night, too.
“We look at all of it,” Boone said without directly answering if Severino was tipping. “We’re constantly monitoring all of our guys and try to make sure we’re as clean as possible.”
Said one Dodgers insider: “Would guess our guys spotted something.”
Though many Yankees players and coaches waxed poetic about playing a series at Dodger Stadium — especially first-timers, many of whom emerged from the dugout several hours before first pitch Friday with phones in hand for pictures and/or videos — that was not the case for reserve outfielder Jake Bauers.
The outgoing 27-year-old, a native of nearby Newport Beach, instead regaled several of his teammates before Friday’s game with the story of the final game of his senior season at Marina High School in Huntington Beach. That 2013 season ended at Dodger Stadium with a 1-0 loss in the CIFSS (California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section) Division I championship game to North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake, which was led by current Cardinals righthander Jack Flaherty. He pitched a six-hitter (and drove in the game’s only run).
A bad memory to be sure, but Bauers, who started in leftfield Saturday, said with a smile: “I still love this stadium.”
Especially after hitting a pair of two-run homers in the second and fourth innings to give the Yankees and Gerrit Cole a 4-1 lead in what became a 6-3 victory over the Dodgers.
Bauers, who on Saturday had 10 family members in attendance, including his grandmother, his parents, his wife, Lauren, and her parents, smiled afterward when the state title game was brought up. “I’ll take that game,” he said, meaning Saturday’s, “over a state championship.”