Neil Walker has been one of the Yankees’ hottest hitters lately and hit home runs from both sides of the plate on Thursday night. He was not in the starting lineup against Texas lefthander Mike Minor on Friday night.
“Walk always wants in there,” manager Aaron Boone said. “So I’m sure he’s not real happy that he’s sitting. With a lefty going, it’s a little different, and we’re in the midst of a stretch where he’s probably going to kind of play every day.”
After the Yankees’ 12-7 loss, Boone said Walker had been available only in an emergency because of a sore neck and an unspecified illness that hit him right before the game. Walker left after the game and was not available for comment.
Walker is batting .333 (22-for-66) with four homers and 14 RBIs in his last 21 games.
Luke Voit started at first base with Miguel Andujar at third, Giancarlo Stanton as the DH and Shane Robinson in right.
Walker, who has started at first, second, third and DH this season, could make his first career start in rightfield this weekend, Boone said. Walker made the first two outfield appearances of his career in right late in games on July 28 and Aug. 1.
Walker is the first player in Yankees history to make at least 10 starts at first, second and third in the same season.
Boone: Chapman healthy
Boone said closer Aroldis Chapman — who had diminished velocity in an outing on Thursday after throwing 39 pitches against the Red Sox on Sunday — is not injured.
“I think he is good,” Boone said. “Just going through a little patch right now where I think in a given year you pretty much see every closer go through a little bump. But health-wise, I think he’s good. I think the knee’s better than it’s been in a while. Just got to work through it with him . . . I don’t think we have any issues physically.”
Gary Sanchez, who is rehabbing his right groin strain in Tampa, will join the team Monday to continue his rehab, Boone said.