SEATTLE – Though both Anthony Rizzo and Aaron Boone said last weekend the lower-back tightness the first baseman has been experiencing isn’t as bad as early July when it cost him four games, the veteran missed a fourth straight game Tuesday night.
But Boone insisted before Tuesday night’s game against the Mariners the back is in still in better shape than July 5-8 when he missed time and that holding Rizzo out Tuesday was a product of “being really cautious” rather than a more serious condition.
“Wanting him to get through a really good, full day workout,” Boone continued. “And if he does, I’d expect him in there tomorrow. He’s doing really well. Just giving it one more day.”
Rizzo, whose back has periodically flared up throughout his 12-year career, is hitting .227 but has 27 homers – second-most on the Yankees behind Aaron Judge’s 44 – and an .858 OPS.
The Yankees finish their three-game series against the Mariners Wednesday afternoon, after which they’ll take a 5-6-hour flight to Boston for a three-game series that starts Friday night. Though taking long flights is part of being a major leaguer, Rizzo experiencing a back issue at the start of a three-city trip – which started in St. Louis last weekend - was bad timing.
“Hopefully we, and he, are smart with trying to make sure it’s as comfortable and he’s in as good a situation on the flight as he can be,” Boone said. “I do believe we’re about through this and at the end of it. So hopefully the flight won’t alter that at all.”
Miguel Andujar, brought up to replace Matt Carpenter on the roster after the utility man suffered a left foot fracture Monday night on a foul ball, is hoping to stick in the big leagues for a prolonged stretch after spending, to his frustration, most of the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
“For me, I have to control what I can,” Andujar said through his interpreter of perhaps putting too much pressure on himself to match Carpenter’s production. “Which is to prepare myself to play the game and try to contribute the way I can and the way I can play baseball.”