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Yankees Keep Winning Games and Losing Players

August 20,2018 06:08

It seems these days that nothing can be completely favorable for the Yankees. On Saturday, they easily beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 11-6, but their catcher, Austin Romine, took a baseball off his chin, shaking him to the point that he had to be held up ...and more »



Yankees 10, Blue Jays 2
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Didi Gregorius of the Yankees left the game with a heel injury he sustained in the first inning of a win over the Blue Jays on Sunday.CreditNoah Murray/Associated Press

By Wallace Matthews

Aug. 19, 2018

It seems these days that nothing can be completely favorable for the Yankees. On Saturday, they easily beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 11-6, but their catcher, Austin Romine, took a baseball off his chin, shaking him to the point that he had to be held up by the home plate umpire.
And on Sunday, they pulverized the Blue Jays again, 10-2, to complete a three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium, but shortstop Didi Gregorius left the game after sustaining a heel injury in a first-inning baseline collision.
With Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez already sidelined with injuries, and Giancarlo Stanton relegated to designated hitter duties for the past two weeks because of hamstring tightness, it was difficult to celebrate the win, the series sweep, or the fact that for the first time in 10 days, the Yankees managed to gain ground on the Boston Red Sox in the American League East race.
“Injuries are injuries,” Manager Aaron Boone said. “They’re all a part of it. You hope to avoid them as much as you can, especially to key guys, but whether they’re freakish, whether they’re significant, whether they’re small, they’re all things you have to deal with, and we will. We have all season so far.”

There was plenty of good news in the game: First baseman Greg Bird, who had been struggling mightily in August, homered for the second straight game, this one a grand slam that capped the scoring in the Yankees’ six-run first inning; J.A. Happ, who struggled early in his start against his former team, settled down to work five and one-third serviceable innings for his 14th win of the season; and Ronald Torreyes, pressed into emergency service after Gregorius went down, delivered three hits, including a double, and scored a run.
But the injury to Gregorius, who ran into Blue Jays first baseman Kendrys Morales on an infield single that drove in the Yankees’ second run of the game, left a pall of uncertainty over the team. The Yankees need a strong finish to either make a serious run at Boston — whose lead in the A.L. East was cut to nine and a half games after the Red Sox fell to Tampa Bay on Sunday — for the division title or hold off the encroaching Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics for an A.L. wild-card berth.
Gregorius tripped over Morales’s leg just beyond first base, and Gregorius’s left heel slammed down hard on the dirt as he landed. He remained down in obvious pain for several seconds, and then got up and jogged in place briefly before deciding to stay in the game.
But by the end of the second inning, he had been removed from the game and was on his way to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital for tests, which Boone said came back negative. But Boone sounded less than optimistic that Gregorius would be fit to play in the two-game series against the Marlins beginning on Tuesday in Miami.
“It was a pretty good spill and he’s got a pretty significant bruise and there’s some swelling in there,” Boone said. “It’s not great. Nothing broken or anything like that but it could potentially be a D.L. thing.”

If Gregorius does end up on the disabled list, Boone said, then Gleyber Torres, who was a shortstop in the Chicago Cubs’ organization before being shifted to second base by the Yankees, would slide back into his old position, and either Torreyes or Neil Walker would play second.
But the Yankees have been using Walker in the outfield in place of Stanton, and on Sunday, he was also the emergency backup catcher behind starter Kyle Higashioka in the event Romine was unable to go. Boone said Romine had passed all the concussion protocols, and Romine said he was capable of playing if needed.
The situation emphasized the need for Boone to be creative with his lineup amid the rash of injuries as well as the importance of getting Stanton back onto the field as soon as possible. Stanton, who drove in a run with an opposite-field single in the sixth inning, said he believed he would be able to play in the outfield against Miami, which would free up Walker to return to the infield, where he is more comfortable.
“Losing Didi would be a big blow, but we’ve been dealing with it all year and we’ve done a great job,” said Bird, who before Saturday’s game had been batting .132 (7 for 53) with no home runs and two runs batted in for August. In the last two games, he has added two home runs and six R.B.I., and his grand slam off Blue Jays starter Ryan Borucki was his second in five weeks; he hit one in the Yankees’ 9-0 victory over the Orioles in Baltimore on July 11.
“I’m not going to lie, I definitely felt it today,” Bird said. “I know the consistency hasn’t been there this season, but today I felt like I was in a good place, just getting ready to hit, and I just got to build on that.”
Inside Pitch
Aaron Judge had what Manager Aaron Boone called “a low-key day” in his recovery from a chip fracture in his right wrist. He has yet to swing a bat and was wearing a wrap over the injury in the clubhouse after the game. “It’s still fractured so of course there’s some pain,” said Judge, who has missed 23 games since sustaining the injury. “It takes about four to six weeks for that to go away.”

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page D3 of the New York edition with the headline: Yanks Win a Laugher, but Gregorius Is Left Grimacing. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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