CHICAGO — No one, as those in sports are prone to say, will “feel sorry for you” when it comes to injuries.
The Yankees in recent weeks have seen their share of players go on the disabled list, be forced out of the lineup by odd maladies (see Matt Holliday) or suffer significant setbacks while trying to come back (see Greg Bird), and the message is one and the same.
Deal with it.
Or, as Brett Gardner said in Oakland a little more than a week ago: “The game doesn’t stop for anybody.”
The Yankees, losers of 10 of their last 12 games entering Monday night, got one key piece back but quickly lost another. Jacoby Ellsbury returned from the concussion disabled list, where he had been since May 25, but Starlin Castro suffered a right hamstring strain while running out a grounder in the third and was replaced in the bottom of the inning by Rob Refsnyder.
The prognosis for Castro, who has a .315/.350/.422 slash line, 12 homers and 45 RBIs in an All-Star-caliber season, was not immediately known. The Yankees called up one of the organization’s top infield prospects, Tyler Wade, from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and he will be in Chicago on Tuesday night.
Entering Monday night, Wade had started 12 games at second base, 10 at third base, 43 at shortstop, two in leftfeld, two in centerfield and one in rightfield..
The Scranton players most consistently praised and considered major league-ready by opposing team scouts who cover the Yankees are Wade, 22, picked in the fourth round in 2013, and outfielder Dustin Fowler.
The Ellsbury move was one the Yankees didn’t want to make Monday, as the plan was for him to spend at least a few more days on his rehab assignment. But when Aaron Hicks suffered a right oblique strain Sunday and was put on the DL Monday morning, the Yankees decided to pull the trigger on Ellsbury, who said he felt ready after not feeling any of the concussion symptoms for “a few days.”
“Been working hard to get to this point,” said Ellsbury, who went 3-for-8 in two rehab games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. “Everything’s been good.”
Said Joe Girardi: “We probably could have left him down there a couple more days, but he’s swinging the bat well. He just felt, and we felt, he was ready to go, so we brought him up.”
The Yankees made a slew of moves Monday before the start of this seven-game trip against the White Sox (four games) and the streaking Astros.
In addition to Ellsbury returning and Hicks going on the DL, lefty reliever Tyler Webb and outfielder Mason Williams were optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Refsnyder and righthander Ronald Herrera were recalled from Scranton. Girardi said elevating one of the club’s top outfield prospects, Fowler or Clint Frazier, was not discussed.
Castro returned to the lineup after receiving a cortisone injection Sunday in his sore right wrist — something Girardi said the second baseman had been dealing with for about six weeks — but couldn’t make it through the third inning.
The mystery surrounding Holliday deepened. The DH, scratched from the lineup June 17 in Oakland because of an allergic reaction, saw some of those symptoms return Sunday. It looked as if he would be able to play Monday night, but the symptoms reappeared again, necessitating an afternoon visit to a doctor here for some tests.
“He said he woke up, felt decent this morning, and then [the symptoms] came back like at 2 o’clock,” Girardi said. “Our hope is we have a better idea after the tests come through.”
Girardi described the symptoms.
“Just tired, doesn’t feel good,” he said. “I think the other day, he might have had a fever for a short period of time. It’s just he’s kind of achy and tired. I don’t think he’s been throwing up a lot or anything like that, but generally just doesn’t feel good.”
That also could describe the clubhouse the last couple of weeks as the Yankees have struggled. In their 2-10 streak, they have lost five games by one run and one game by two, and they needed a ninth-inning home run by Gardner to avoid a one-run loss to the Rangers on Friday night.
Girardi likes his club’s attitude, which he’s never perceived as being down in nature.
“I wouldn’t say they’re down, I would say they’re not happy about it,” Girardi said. “Look at yesterday [the Yankees fell behind 7-0 early in Sunday’s game but rallied before losing to the Rangers, 7-6]. A down team doesn’t get to where we got to. There’s a ton of fight in this club. For me, it’s a team that’s not very happy the way things have gone the last two weeks. Look how many of these games we’ve had a chance to win in the ninth inning. I see fight every day and every inning.”