Edwin Encarnacion walked through the Yankees clubhouse door on Monday. Giancarlo Stanton will do the same on Tuesday after finishing his minor-league rehab assignment on Sunday. Later in the week, if all goes well, it’ll be Aaron Judge’s turn.
Stanton will find things a little different than when he went on the injured list on April 1 with a left biceps strain that turned into a shoulder problem that led to a calf strain. Instead of being Aaron Boone’s primary designated hitter, Stanton will return as an outfielder – the everyday leftfielder once Judge takes his familiar spot in rightfield.
It’s no big deal, said general manager Brian Cashman.
“When we acquired ‘G’ it wasn’t to be a DH,” Cashman said. “We feel like we have a very athletic outfielder. It just happens to be because we’re an American League club, we had a chance to settle it in his first year and he predominantly wound up slotting into that DH spot. He played the outfield a lot when Judge was down [last season]. He’s more than capable.”
Stanton actually played left in the first three games of this season before going on the IL. That was because Aaron Hicks was injured and Brett Gardner had to play center.
The Yankees started the season with Luke Voit and Greg Bird sharing the first base and DH positions. Now, Encarnacion will share first and DH with Voit, and Hicks is back. So that pushes Stanton to left and Gardner to the bench, especially when Judge returns. Boone said that could be “in a few days.”
The Yankees optioned Mike Tauchman to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after the game to clear a roster spot for Stanton.
Judge, who has been out since April 21 with a left oblique strain, is rehabbing with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, which was off Monday. Judge has one hit in 12 at-bats.
“He’s doing great,” Boone said. “He feels good.”