After missing nearly the entire season due to shoulder and lat injuries, Yankees ace Luis Severino is expected to return from the injured list and start Tuesday’s game against the Angels at Yankee Stadium, manager Aaron Boone revealed to reporters Thursday morning (Twitter links via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com). That on its own is good news, but Boone added that Giancarlo Stanton could rejoin the roster at the start of that home stand as well, meaning he could be in the lineup Tuesday as well.
Not only are Severino and Stanton on the verge of a return, it seems that left-hander Jordan Montgomery and righty Dellin Betances could be back in the same general timeframe. Montgomery could start things off in a bullpen game for the Yankees in Toronto on Sunday (Twitter link via Newsday’s Erik Boland), while Hoch tweets that Betances will pitch once more for Trenton tomorrow and could be added to the Major League roster after that outing.
A healthy Severino would be a welcome reprieve for a beleaguered Yankees rotation that has stumbled throughout the second half of the season. Since the All-Star break, Yankees starters have posted a collective 5.25 ERA and averaged fewer than five innings per outing. Those shortcomings have done nothing to endanger New York’s overwhelming lead in the American League East, but such difficulties among their starting staff are no doubt a concern with the postseason looming. Adding a healthy Severino into the fray could be a substantial boost not only for the final two weeks of the regular season but also to the team’s outlook in the American League Division Series.
The Yankees have been relying primarily on the quintet of Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, Domingo German, J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia to make their starts, but Paxton (3.90) and German (4.90) are the only members of the bunch with a sub-5.00 ERA since the All-Star break. Happ has rattled off a string of solid starts and could be rounding into form late in the year, but the Yankees’ rotation has generally been a weak point. A strong bullpen and overwhelming offensive attack have paved their road to success.
As for Stanton, it’s clear that scoring runs hasn’t been an issue for the Yankees this season. Staying healthy, however, has. Stanton is a major part of that, but he could rejoin the lineup at an opportune time. The Yankees just lost out-of-the-blue breakout outfielder Mike Tauchman for the rest of the season, and Aaron Hicks could be down for the rest of the year as well. Luke Voit, meanwhile, hasn’t hit much since returning from the injured list.
Stanton has only managed to appear in nine games for the Yankees this year, first going down with a biceps strain that sidelined him for two months and then spraining his knee in just his sixth game back from that first injury. His injury-shortened campaign has caused some Yankees fans to sour on him, but Stanton was plenty dangerous in his Yankees debut in 2018, hitting .266/.343/.509 with 38 big flies and 34 doubles in 158 games (705 plate appearances). Adding him back into the late-season and playoff picture would be bad news for whichever postseason opponent lines up against the Yanks.
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