A look at the Yankees lineup as players return from injury

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The Yankees have been hit hard with injuries this year, and the list is full of key contributors:

Player
Injury
Didi Gregorius
Strained Right Shoulder
Gary Sanchez
Strained Right Bicep
Aroldis Chapman
Right rotator cuff Inflammation
Starlin Castro
Right Hamstring
Greg Bird
Right Ankle
Tyler Austin
Fractured Left Ankle/Strained Hamstring
Jacoby Ellsbury
Concussion
CC Sabathia
Knee Injury
Masahiro Tanaka
Shoulder Soreness
Clint Frazier
Oblique
Matt Holiday
Illness
Aaron Hicks
Oblique
Michael Pineda
Tommy John

Luckily almost all of these players are back and healthy, but players like Bird, Castro, Tanaka, Frazier, and Holiday are still on the mend. These players are close to returning to the lineup, giving manager Joe Girardi a lot to consider. Some of the choices will be easier than others, as it can be assumed that if Castro is productive on his return, he will regain his starting second base spot.

As for the 25 player active roster, the first player sent down will probably be Tyler Wade as he hasn’t played much at all in recent weeks and his development is only further hindered by being on the bench. This brings the active roster to 23, add Bird and Castro to fill the roster. Unless the team chooses to add another pitcher to replace Bryan Mitchell's spot on the roster, then Tyler Austin would probably be the one demoted.
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However, the DH and first base spots are going to be tricky, and it will be interesting to see how he handles them. First off, Matt Holiday hasn’t been productive since his DL stint, and with an increasing amount of young and productive bats in the lineup, he should need to prove his spot as an everyday player in the lineup.
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Currently, Greg Bird is tearing up the minors during his rehab stint and will look to make his return as early as the Detroit series, and if he can supply some left-handed power in the lineup, he is going to need to play. However, the club has moved Headley there and Austin is the backup and DH, so there isn’t a place for him at the moment. The club could go one of two ways, demote Austin and platoon Headley and Bird, or he could move Headley back to third to platoon with Frazier and let Austin and Bird platoon at first. The latter would give the team a way to bat against righty and lefty pitchers, and you could use one of the two who aren't playing a spot at DH with Holiday.
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As for the outfield, only Clint Frazier is coming back, but there is no timetable for his return, so his addition may not come till the September first 40 man call-ups. Frazier was starting to struggle before his injury, and the outfielder hasn’t even begun to swing a bat, so he will probably not be activated until the 40 man call-ups September first. When Frazier does return, he can spell one of the veteran outfielders, as Gardner has begun to slip in production this month, and some more rest days couldn’t hurt in addition to the ones he gets with Ellsbury. Also, if Judge continues his struggles, Girardi may give the right fielder an extended rest, similar to what the Red Sox gave Andrew Benintendi. If they do give Judge that rest, using Frazier, Hicks, and even Tyler Austin could help the rookie get a physical and mental respite in hopes of him gaining momentum come the late into the season.

The Yanks need offensive production, as the lineup has been inconsistent in recent weeks, which has caused some of the team's poor performances. Castro and Bird could add some real pop back into the lineup which has been lost with Judge’s recent slump, and if he continues to struggle the club needs to find a way replace his production. Here are some ways the lineups could look moving forward:

Position
A
B
C
D
2
Sanchez
Sanchez
Romine
Sanchez
3
Bird
Austin
Headley
Headley
4
Castro
Castro
Castro
Castro
5
Headley
T. Frazier
T. Frazier
T. Frazier
6
Gregorius
Gregorius
Gregorius
Gregorius
7
Gardner
Hicks
C. Frazier
C. Frazier
8
Hicks
Ellsbury
Hicks
Ellsbury
9
Judge
Judge
Judge
Hicks
DH
Austin
Holliday
Sanchez
Bird


The Bombers need some consistent offensive production, especially with RISP as the team has struggled there mightily in recent weeks. Adding some more in-house productive bats and power could go a long way to the success of the team down the stretch. The Yankees have had questions like this before, and they seem to work themselves out. Until all these players come back and produce at a high level, the Yankees just need to worry about getting the best lineup out there as they look to retake ground in the division race.

Article by: Maxx Hotton


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