Off to a slow start, the Yankees found their footing over the past several weeks thanks, in part, to an offense led by right fielder Aaron Judge and designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton. With a recent torrid stretch of hitting, Judge was tied for the major-league lead in home runs (12) entering Monday. Hitting in front of him most of the season was Stanton, with the sluggers tied for the team lead at 24 runs batted in.
But on Monday, the Yankees announced that Stanton, who had seemingly turned a corner with managing his persistent injuries, was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left quadriceps muscle.
On Friday, Stanton, 31, had been scratched from the Yankees’ lineup before their game against the Tampa Bay Rays with tightness in the same muscle. Two days later, Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said he hoped that Stanton could return to action this week, during a four-game road series against the Texas Rangers. Instead, Stanton, a four-time All-Star and the winner of the 2017 National League Most Valuable Player Award, will be out at least a week.
Stanton’s injured-list stint is backdated to Friday, so the soonest he could return is May 24. But given his many trips to the I.L. over the past few seasons, it was immediately unclear if he could be back that quickly.
Since the start of the 2019 season, Stanton’s list of physical ailments is long: a biceps strain, a balky shoulder, two calf strains, a sprained knee, a pulled hamstring and, now, two strained quadriceps. When he returned from injuries last fall, Stanton was the Yankees’ best hitter in the postseason. Over the winter, he altered his workout regimen, lifting weights less often and adding more agility.
Stanton has overcome a slow start to this season and is hitting .282 with nine home runs and an .882 on-base plus slugging percentage through 33 games. Entering Monday, only Judge had more home runs and a higher O.P.S. (1.009) among Yankees players.
Stanton’s absence coincides with an ongoing injury to center fielder Aaron Hicks. On Sunday, the Yankees placed Hicks on the I.L. and called up the journeyman outfielder Ryan LaMarre. Hicks has a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist, which could require surgery and keep him out for a while, Boone said.
Thankfully for the Yankees, first baseman Luke Voit, who led the major leagues in home runs last year, returned from knee surgery last week.