The Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton looks on from the dugout during...

The Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton looks on from the dugout during an MLB game against Atlanta at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

It was a month ago, almost to the day, that Hal Steinbrenner pointed to the Yankees’ remarkable ability to stay in one piece physically  as the primary reason for sitting atop the AL East.

Gerrit Cole had yet to return from his  elbow scare but was solidly on schedule. Everyone else, from the fragile Giancarlo Stanton to the brittle Anthony Rizzo, surprisingly had remained upright.

“It is really about health,” Steinbrenner said on May 22, wary of watching his previous teams disintegrate at midseason or later. “Our injuries have been below average this year as opposed to way above average, which we’ve had at least two in the five years. And it makes a difference.”

Since then, the Yankees, in a medical sense, have more resembled the group limping around in Steinbrenner’s nightmares — especially now that Stanton said after Sunday’s 3-1 loss to Atlanta that he’s expected to miss four weeks with a hamstring strain characterized as “mild” by manager Aaron Boone.

So to recap, the Yankees didn’t have Juan Soto (sore forearm) for the Dodgers series and dropped two of three to L.A. Then Aaron Judge (bruised hand) had to leave the first game early and sit out the second game during  the Orioles’ visit to the Bronx, which ended up another lost series.

Say what you want about Rizzo’s miserable offensive numbers to date, but he was showing some uptick at the plate before breaking his forearm a week ago at Fenway Park. He’s likely gone for two months. And now it’s Stanton, which, given his  medical history, was pretty much anticipated anyway.

At least by general manager Brian Cashman, who in November ticked off Stanton by telling a crowd of reporters that “he’s going to wind up getting hurt again more likely than not because it seems to be part of his game.” Not a very nice thing for Cashman to say about his $325 million DH, but ultimately, he wasn’t wrong.

Still, being right is of little consolation now to Cashman. The Yankees' 2024 hopes are dependent on a productive Stanton, and that’s what they had been getting. Thanks to Stanton’s retooled winter regimen — maybe spurred by Cashman’s stinger — and the Yankees’ in-season maintenance program, the lethal DH already had 18 homers (tied for second on the team with Soto) and 45 RBIs (third behind Judge and Soto) in just under half a season.

Sure, there are times when Stanton looks as if he’s never seen a slider before, and that bloated contract is a brutal drag on the payroll, but he was a functioning member of what had been a very dangerous offense. In addition, Stanton and Rizzo provided Boone’s daily righty-lefty split in the heart of the order, lengthening a lineup that got awfully short awfully fast with both going on the IL.

“That’s the major league season,” Boone said after Sunday’s loss, the Yankees’ seventh in  10 games. “We’ve had a pretty strong bill of health the first couple months of the season and you’re going to get nicked up along the way . . .  You’ve got to find a way in and around that.

“Other guys need to play a role. You don’t have to go be Giancarlo, obviously. But bringing in certain guys, hopefully they’re a piece to some winning situations.”

The Yankees had the perfect insurance for this exact situation until about a week ago, which is when star outfield prospect Jasson Dominguez suffered an oblique strain that landed him on the shelf for a minimum of two months. Dominguez had been up to speed for weeks after a quicker-than-forecast rehab from Tommy John surgery, but the Yankees didn’t have a spot for him in their clogged outfield — the one department that was doing consistent damage offensively.

During the past month, Boone frequently was asked if Dominguez was ready for a promotion. “Very close” was his standard reply. On Sunday, in the wake of Stanton’s injury news, Boone got a similar question: Would Dominguez have been the replacement for Stanton? The manager, through a wry smile, conceded, “Yes.”

That was another painful dynamic of Stanton’s  hamstring strain. It forced the Yankees to move quickly Sunday in trading for former Met J.D. Davis, who was hitting .236 with four homers and a .670 OPS for the A’s. At best, Davis is a platoon player — Boone suggested he could split time at first base with lefthanded-hitting rookie Ben Rice — but these are not optimal choices.

As Boone mentioned, none of these subs are going to be Big G. But the rest of the Yankees’ lineup — after the top three of Anthony Volpe, Soto and Judge — is shrinking before our eyes. Look at Sunday, when lefthanded-hitting Alex Verdugo was the cleanup hitter against elite lefty Max Fried, with Gleyber Torres (.218 batting average) and DJ LeMahieu (.185) batting fifth and sixth, respectively.

Of the Yankees’ seven hits, Rice and Trent Grisham had four of them, with each contributing a pair of singles. Finding offense below Verdugo is going to be a serious challenge, and the Yankees as a whole are sputtering right now as they head to Flushing for the Subway Series. Just for the record, Stanton’s 38 homers against the Mets are his highest total against any opponent and his 24 at Citi Field are the most by any visitor.

“Feelings don’t really matter at this time,” Stanton said of his frustration level.

For the Yankees, that once-healthy outlook to the season  is officially over.

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