Yankees designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion left today’s game with the Tigers in the seventh inning due to what the team called a left oblique strain. The slugger will return to New York to receive tests.
More will be known once Encarnacion is examined by doctors, but on the surface, it’s yet another in a seemingly endless series of injuries to Yankee players this season, and one that could have major ramifications on the postseason roster. Most oblique injuries generally carry a recovery timeline of 3-4 weeks, though depending on the severity of the strain, Encarnacion may well have taken his last at-bat in 2019.
It already doesn’t look like Aaron Hicks will be back for the postseason, while Mike Tauchman has been more definitively been ruled out for the next 6-to-8 weeks. One plus is the impending return of Giancarlo Stanton, and if Encarnacion is out, putting Stanton into the DH spot would be a natural move to help keep Stanton fresh and healthy after missing almost all of the 2019 campaign with a variety of injuries. If the Yankees are okay with using Stanton in the outfield, Clint Frazier or Mike Ford could also see DH duty, or the Yankees could split first base and DH between DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit.
Encarnacion has been no stranger to the injured list since coming to New York from the Mariners in a June trade. He only just returned from the IL on Sept. 3 after missing a month of action with a right wrist fracture. When he has been in the lineup, Encarnacion has delivered his typically impressive performance at the plate, hitting .244/.344/.531 with 34 homers over 486 combined plate appearances for New York and Seattle this season.
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