The Yankees don’t get excited. The train keeps rolling into the next station, even as injuries mount. Ho hum – next up, please…
The Yankees continue to defy the odds suggesting you can only withstand so much before the egg cracks. Twenty-six separate stints by players on the Injured List (IL) remains a mere distraction. Who’s up, who’s down? Who’s out, who’s in? Check the Yankees Transaction Wire daily.
The only thing we know is to not look for the name Clint Frazier getting a promotion (more later). All else serves to keep Uber in business, providing back and forth rides to Yankee Stadium from Scranton, Pennsylvania. Here’s a small sample highlighting activity over the past few days:
The beat goes on. The next man up remains the refrain of the Yankees. DJ LeMahieu is now the regular first baseman while Luke Voit and Edwin Encarnacion tend to injuries. Mike Ford, a recent call-up, is there to back him up when Aaron Boone calls LeMahieu’s name for other duties.
Mike Tauchman gets regular play in the Yankees outfield while continuing to shine both defensively and with the bat (.283, 31 RBI, .860 OPS in only 166 at-bats).
Wily veterans like Brett Gardner and Cameron Maybin get increased playing time, both having recently returned from their injuries. Didi Gregorius and Gio Urshela continue to grind it out, despite having suffered minor “tweaks,” and Gleyber Torres remains the only name you can count on in the lineup posted each night by Boone.
What’s more, Austin Romine and Kyle Higashioka hold the fort down during the absence of Gary Sanchez with no complaints from the pitching staff, and periodic offensive outbursts. Sanchez is due to play in rehab games this week and is tentatively scheduled to return when the Yankees travel to Toronto later this week.
The Yankees starting pitching quintet hasn’t changed, except for the void left by CC Sabathia when he went down yet again with those balky knees. James Paxton is beginning to look like the James Paxton Brian Cashman traded for during the offseason. J.A. Happ is proving he’s good for five effective innings in his starts. Help is on the way, though, as Jonathan Loaisiga begins a rehab assignment at Triple-A Scranton.
When all else fails, Aaron Boone can make the switch to using Chad Greene as the opener, switching over to the bullpen to Nestor Cortes Jr. or Stephen Tarpley to provide innings before the “A-Team” in the bullpen is called on.
Meanwhile, the Yankees wait for the wait, watching the ongoing ever so slow rehab of Luis Severino and Dellin Betances. The luxury of a comfortable lead in the A.L. East affords the opportunity not to rush things.
But on the line is the battle with the Houston Astros to seize the best record in the league, which affords the Yankees home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. As play began on Monday, the Yankees trailed the Astros by .001 percentage points for this honor.
Brian Cashman, together with Aaron Boone, has hit all the reset buttons effectively when calling on Yankees replacements. However, intrigue follows their avoidance of Clint Frazier.
A likely candidate as a trade chip at the deadline that fell through when Cashman opted to stand pat in place of the price demanded for starting pitching. A proven offensive threat, we can only conclude the Yankees see Frazier as a defensive liability, despite the praise they loft his way regarding his effort to improve. Go figure.
Quietly, though effectively, the Yankees continue to echo a “bring it on” approach to their plight. So far, so good.
And you can’t help but get the feeling there is nothing in this 2019 campaign that can bring them down.