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Series Preview: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays (7/23-7/25)

Following their rain-shortened two-game series split against the Mets at home this past weekend, the Yankees head down South for three days to face the Rays in Tampa Bay.  Tropicana Field has, in a way, been a house of horrors for New York, having gone just 4-9 at The Trop since the beginning of 2017 including an ugly three-game sweep just a month ago. The Yankees will begin play today at 63-34, five full games behind the first place Red Sox.  Tampa Bay comes in at 50-49, 19 games out of first and 9.5 games back of Seattle for the second Wild Card position. With trade rumors swirling for both squads and the teams headed in opposite directions, this series provides a key opportunity for the Yankees to get back on track and put pressure on Boston to once again close up the AL East race.

Injury updates on Greg Bird and Aroldis Chapman

As the Yankees head into the summer, they have began seeing their schedule with fewer and fewer off days. But playing so frequently also means having ups and downs. As the Yankees enter the closing series’ of the month of May, two players that the Yankees currently have on the disabled list are close to returning.
Photo Credit: Elsa | Getty Images

Aroldis Chapman was placed on the DL on May 4th with rotator cuff inflammation in his left shoulder.

Problems with velocity and control led the Yankees to believe something was wrong, despite what Chapman was saying to media. Soon after, Chapman caved and agreed his shoulder was becoming a problem. The plan for him was to rest for 10 days, and then begin to throw again, according to Yankees’ trainer Steve Donahue.

The Yankees look to have Chapman back soon, as his setback is nothing serious. He was reevaluated Monday, and the indications are that he will begin a throwing program in the near future, a big step towards his return.

“He feels good,” Yankee manager Joe Girardi said.

Greg Bird, who has been on the DL since May 2nd with a right ankle bruise, has made progress as well according to Girardi.
Photo Credit: Rick Schultz | AP
Bird’s ankle has bothered him all through April, when he fouled a ball into it at the end of his astounding spring training. Since the regular season started, Bird has batted .100/.250/.200 with only one home run in 60 at-bats. He left Yankees fans disappointed as his regular season start was nothing compared to his unstoppable spring training. It is believed that Bird’s ankle injury is one of the factors of his poor start.

Bird could be returning to the Bronx very soon. He has been light running at the stadium, and took dry swings yesterday (swings with a bat but no ball). Additionally, he is likely to began hitting off a tee as well as some soft toss today.

“He’ll go through baseball activities this week,” Girardi said. “We’ll see where he is at the end of the week.”

Article by: Natalie Calzetoni