Yankees are landing on the injured list at an alarming rate.
Monday brought two rapid-fire additions to an already crowded IL. Giancarlo Stanton went on it because of a left biceps strain. Hours later, just before the game against the Tigers, Miguel Andujar joined him. After the game, Aaron Boone said Andujar has a small labrum tear in his right shoulder.
Andujar, last year’s American League Rookie of the Year runner-up, will be treated “conservatively for a couple of weeks,” Boone said, before a decision about surgery is made. If surgery is needed, it could end his season.
For one game, the Yankees sloughed off the dual setbacks, downing the Tigers, 3-1, on a 40-degree night at the Stadium.
“You saw in spring training how deep our team is,” said Aaron Judge, whose diving catch in the eighth inning with two on and none out helped protect the two-run lead. “Guys have to step up. Not only the guys in the lineup but the guys we have coming up to fill those holes. The biggest thing is being a well-oiled machine where everyone’s doing their part.”
The long-term effects of the injuries, of course, are a ways from being determined.
Stanton and Andujar joined Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorius, Dellin Betances and Jacoby Ellsbury on the IL. For now, DJ LeMahieu and Tyler Wade, recalled Monday, will fill the void at third. Clint Frazier, also recalled Monday, will help fill in with Stanton out.
“People asked me all spring how I liked the team and I told people I loved the team,” Brett Gardner said. “Not just because of the guys we had in the room but because of the depth that we have.”
Gardner started the season 1-for-13 but had two hits Monday, including his first homer, a fifth-inning shot that made it 3-1. “Obviously, we weren’t expecting to get that depth tested this early on, but here we are,’’ he said. “Guys will just have to step up and get the job done.”
That depth wasn’t really tested Monday night, not against a Tigers team expected to be among the worst in baseball. Still, after dropping two of three to the woeful Orioles, the Yankees (2-2) were determined to come out far better. They did, led by righthander Domingo German, Gary Sanchez’s second homer in as many days and Gardner, one of their most respected veterans — as well as a monstrous defensive assist by Judge.
German, in the rotation because of the injuries to Sabathia and Severino, walked five in five innings, but when he commanded his curve, the results were impressive. He allowed one unearned run and one hit, striking out seven. He and four relievers held the Tigers to two hits, although they walked seven.
“When you get an opportunity, it’s about grabbing it,” German said through his translator. “This is a great opportunity for me.”
Boone was able to roll out most of his collection of stellar bullpen arms, as Chad Green, Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino got the ball to Aroldis Chapman. The lefty, whose velocity has been a topic early on, earned his first save with a 1-2-3 ninth. His fastball peaked at 98 mph, a vast improvement from his first outing Saturday.
Ottavino made it interesting in the eighth, walking the first two batters, and Niko Goodrum followed with a sinking liner to right. Judge laid out and made a diving catch for the first out. His left wrist bent awkwardly as he hit the ground but he said afterward that he is OK.
“Man, impressive,” said centerfielder Gardner, who had the best view of Judge’s catch. “Everyone talks about how far he hits the ball, but I get to see the work he puts in on defense. Just a great play not many other people, if anybody else, are making.”