OAKLAND, Calif. — Starlin Castro arrived at Oakland Coliseum Saturday morning expecting to have his first day off of the season.
It didn’t work out that way as DH Matt Holliday was scratched about a half-hour before first-pitch after having an allergic reaction, likely to something he ate.
Castro replaced Holliday at DH and batted fourth, going 1-for-4.
“I’m not sure what happened, but my face got real red and swollen,” Holliday said afterward. “They had to give me some Benadryl and the doctor said with the amount of Benadryl they gave me it probably wasn’t wise to play.”
Holliday said he wasn’t sure what exactly caused the reaction.
“Nothing out of the normal,” Holliday said, asked what it was he ate. “Not sure how it happened. Doctor wasn’t sure what happened either.”
Castro, meanwhile, is the only player to have played in each of the Yankees first 66 games.
Speaking before the game, Girardi said Castro could use a break.
“I have to take care of Starlin, he’s beat up a little bit,” Girardi said. “No more than a lot of the guys, but you have to look at the long-term and the overall picture.”
Girardi described “beat up.”
“Just wear and tear of playing every game,” he said. “Diving, sliding, swinging, running the bases . . . your body gets nicked up.”
Sanchez, Hicks improving
Girardi said C Gary Sanchez (abductor muscle) and CF Aaron Hicks (left Achilles), both of whom left Thursday’s game with injuries, could play Sunday, though it seems more realistic for Sanchez. Sanchez pinch hit in the ninth inning Saturday and struck out.
“Everything feels good,” he said after the game. “I’ll be ready [today]. Whatever he [Girardi] needs.”
Hicks didn’t sound quite as optimistic, though there was marked progress Saturday.
“Feel like I’m making some solid progress,” he said. “I think tomorrow I have a chance. Today I was able to do agility stuff and throw the baseball around. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to do more.”
Carter heating up?
Oft-criticized Chris Carter went into Saturday having reached base safely in eight of nine games with a plate appearance, going 12-for-38 (.316) with four homers, three walks and nine RBIs in the stretch.
He was not able to continue that Saturday, going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. He has eight homers and 64 strikeouts, third-most on the club behind Aaron Judge (82) and Holliday (65).
“The strikeouts are going to come, but so are the home runs,” Girardi said. “So it’s not like a surprise. He’s a guy, you play him every day he’s going to strike out 200 times. But he’s probably going to hit you 40 home runs. That’s what you live with.”
Carter, 30, playing for the Brewers, led the NL last season with 41 homers and 206 strikeouts.
Impressive HR dispersal
Judge entered Saturday with an MLB-best 23 homers and he’s hit them to all fields, sending six to left, six to right and 11 to center.
“It’s the right approach, stay in the middle of the field,” Girardi said. “The hitters to me who are the most dangerous are the guys that have the ability to hit the ball the other way with power because it’s really hard to pitch to.”
Of the on-going deluge of media attention, ramped up a bit here as Judge grew up about 80 miles away in Linden, Girardi said: “I think he’s probably handled it about as well as anyone I’ve ever seen.”
Chapman for Sunday
Closer Aroldis Chapman, out since May 13 with left rotator cuff inflammation, flew to the coast Saturday and will be activated for Sunday’s game, Girardi said.