Anthony Rizzo finally made some progress in his recovery from an epidural shot in his lower back. The injection caused side effects that were so severe, they landed the first baseman on the injured list this past week.
“He’s coming in today,” Aaron Boone said before Saturday’s 10-3 victory over the Rays at the Stadium.
Rizzo, sidelined with migraine headaches — which can be a side effect of an epidural shot — had been home much of the week, but on Friday he received a blood patch, a treatment option for patients suffering side effects from a spinal injection.
“So far [it] has been deemed really successful. He sounds great, which is good,” Boone said. “He had that [the blood patch] yesterday. Immediately, they had him moving around and walking, and I think it freed him up right away. Headaches are gone so far. He's going to be in today. Hanging out all day, not doing much. And then if he's still in this position tomorrow, we'll start ramping up, but he's really excited about how good he feels.”
Boone indicated that Rizzo, who hasn’t appeared in a game since Aug. 31 in Anaheim, was a slight possibility to return toward the end of the five-game trip this coming week, but it doesn’t sound likely.
“It'll kind of depend on how the ramp-up goes,” Boone said. “Hopefully we’ve gotten through what we need to now, we can start building that process and then we'll just pay attention to how he's doing and how long it takes him to get rolling.”
Rizzo, who has dealt with back issues much of his career, missed four games in early July with lower-back tightness and five games in early August with the same issue,
With Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu (right big toe) on the IL, the Yankees’ situation at first base has become somewhat dire. Rookie Oswaldo Cabrera began getting extensive pregame work at the position Friday; before that, Cabrera had never before put on a first baseman’s glove. Marwin Gonzalez started at first base Saturday and, with Ronald Guzman being optioned back to the minors Saturday morning as Josh Donaldson returned from paternity leave, Cabrera became essentially the backup first baseman.
“Travis Chapman, our infield coach, feels really good about what he saw [Friday],” Boone said. “I feel like he'll be able to handle it if we need him to.”
Plans for Severino
Luis Severino, on the 60-day IL (against his wishes) with a right lat strain, will make another rehab start Thursday with the intention of activating him when the Yankees return from their upcoming two-city, five-game trip that starts Tuesday night in Boston. Boone said Severino is basically ready to pitch for the Yankees, but with the oddity of having off-days at the beginning and end of this trip, it would be too complicated to reinsert him in the rotation.
Packed roster in Somerset
Four Yankees — Aroldis Chapman (infected wound), Miguel Castro (right shoulder strain), Harrison Bader (plantar fasciitis) and Zack Britton (recovering from elbow surgery) — are slated to participate in rehab assignments Sunday with Double-A Somerset for its game at Hartford. Chapman, on the IL since Aug. 27, and Castro, out since July 16, could rejoin the Yankees when they return to the Stadium for a two-game series against the Pirates starting Sept. 20. Bader could be activated around the same time and Britton perhaps a week or so after that (the Yankees, as has been the case all season, are not counting on receiving meaningful innings from him this season). Boone said righty reliever Scott Effross (right shoulder strain), scheduled to throw a bullpen session Tuesday in Boston and a live batting-practice session Friday in New York, also could be activated in time for the next homestand.