ankees manager Aaron Boone looks on before a baseball game...

ankees manager Aaron Boone looks on before a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, Friday, May 13, 2022. Credit: AP/Nam Y. Huh

It’s been a charmed season so far, hasn’t it?

As April gave way to May, the hedging declarations of “it’s still early” were slowly replaced by the sort of cautious optimism that makes people clamor to see what’s ahead. What if these Yankees continue being as good as they’ve been? What if the pitching holds up and Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge remain the two red-hot behemoths in the lineup? They have, like their team, been mythical in stature and in feats — the sight of Judge in the batter’s box with  Stanton in the hole causing managerial palpitations all over the league.

That would be pretty cool, wouldn’t it?

But mythical creatures or not, 162 games are a test of mettle as much as talent, and these last few days have caused fissures in this happy beginning. That was always going to happen eventually, but how the Yankees (28-10 after a 5-5 start) respond to those fissures will help indicate how they will handle the challenges that are bound to crop up down the stretch.

It couldn’t be charmed forever, and the best teams — the ones that deftly navigate the unexpected during the season — tend to be far more suited to dealing with the probable improbabilities of the playoffs. In short, winning means adapting, and there might have to be plenty of that in the Yankees’ future.

The first hints of trouble began Wednesday, when Yankees prospect Luis Gil — whom they went to earlier this season when they needed a sixth starter — pulled himself from a Triple-A game with an elbow injury. It continued Thursday as Chad Green left their loss to the Orioles with right forearm tightness.

And it got worse Friday when Green’s only real comment was that  “I’ve been better.”  Afterward, Aaron Boone acknowledged that Gil’s injury is “significant” and followed up by adding that the Yankees feared Green’s forearm issue is significant, too.

“I think there’s that fear, sure,” Boone said of Green. “It’s definitely a concern right now, but I’d rather him get with doctors and see where we’re at.”

There’s plenty that Green and Boone didn’t say, but anyone who’s been around baseball  probably will jump straight to the worst-case scenario or natural conclusion (depending on your level of pessimism). Forearm issues are bad, and bad forearm issues can turn out to be UCL issues. And significant UCL issues lead to one of the most jarring terms in the baseball medical lexicon: Tommy John surgery.

The Yankees were so prepared for Green to go on the injured list that when the clubhouse doors opened to the media Friday, pitcher Ron Marinaccio already was sitting in front of his locker. He hadn’t even been called up; he was there just in case.

But regardless of what comes of all this, these last few days have presented the Yankees’ first significant hardships this season. Despite a few rough outings in Triple-A, the team is high on Gil, and losing him for any significant time could present a challenge in a season squeezed by a late start and bad weather. Already, after Friday’s rainout, the Yankees were in need of a sixth starter for Wednesday, with Boone saying they likely will go to JP Sears, who’s getting built up in Triple-A.

Green, though, is their most pressing and immediate concern. After a rough start, he’s allowed only one run in his last seven outings and is a valuable arm for a relief corps that has been a key part of the Yankees' success. Entering Friday, the bullpen had a 2.66 ERA, tops in baseball.

“This is part of it,” Boone said. “Injury, unfortunately, is part of the game . . . I think you find out about yourself and your character.”

It’s true for the individual player, but it might end up being true for this team, too.