Add Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees’ list of walking wounded, though one hardly would notice any ill effects of his tight left hamstring.
Manager Aaron Boone made the revelation in his pregame news conference when he was asked why Stanton was listed as the designated hitter for the fourth straight game.
“[He’s] just dealing with the leg tightness and stuff,” Boone said. “We just don’t want to jeopardize that right now. I think it’s really important to, one, have him in there, obviously, but, two, make sure we protect him as best we can.”
Boone added that Stanton — who last played the outfield on Tuesday — has been playing with the tightness “for about a week now and, frankly, he’s been moving well. I think he does a good job playing very much under control.”
Stanton's first-inning home run Saturday gave him four homers and eight RBIs in the last five games. He nearly hit a second that just sliced to the right of the rightfield foul pole.
After the game, Stanton was asked how his hamstring felt. “It’s good,” he said. “It’s fine. I’m managing. I’m going to be DH for a little bit and keep getting stronger.”
Is he compromised at the plate?
“That’s for you guys to decide,” the usually stoic Stanton cracked to a group of media, many of whom laughed.
That's because Stanton continues to hit the ball hard. His homer traveled 387 feet and had an exit velocity of 103.7 mph.
It wasn’t quite as dramatic as Thursday's blast, a line drive that went an estimated 449 feet and set a Statcast exit velocity record of 121.7 mph (surpassing Aaron Judge’s 121.1-mph blast in June 2017 against Baltimore.)
Stanton, who has made 31 starts in leftfield and 29 in rightfield this season, has a .279/.346/.525 slash line with team highs of 29 home runs and 75 RBIs in 115 games. He hit 59 home runs last season for the Marlins, including 38 in his last 78 games.
With Judge and Gary Sanchez still out with injuries, the key for the Yankees moving forward is monitoring Stanton from game to game, and even at-bat to at-bat.
“We check in with Giancarlo all the time,” Boone said. “The one good thing is that he’s been able to maintain this and kind of play through it. I feel like we’ve had some really good, honest dialogue back and forth and kind of checking every day, every night after the game with him.”
Boone doesn't think he’s had the luxury of giving Stanton a day off, but he wouldn’t risk a more serious injury to the 2017 National League MVP.
“So maybe in a perfect world we would be able to grab him a day here,” Boone said, “but we also . . . wouldn’t put him out there if we didn’t feel good about that he was OK to go.”