In the span of a week, the New York Yankees’ lineup could get a complete makeover with the addition of American League home run leader Edwin Encarnacion and the healthy return of outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.
Encarnacion, acquired from the Seattle Mariners, might be in the lineup Monday night against the Tampa Bay Rays as the Yankees return home from a road trip for what is setting up as an explosive homestand.
That’s because the usual middle-of-the-order bombers, Stanton and Judge, are close to being on the field at Yankee Stadium. For Stanton, that will happen Tuesday. Judge is close, and could be back with the team by the end of the weekend.
Stanton has been sidelined since March 31 with multiple injuries, including a calf ailment. The Yankees have also been without Judge for most of this season.
“Encarnacion, Stanton and Judge, that’s three elite power hitters plugged into our lineup,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Hopefully it’s something that over time creates a big-time advantage for us.”
Now the challenge for Boone is finding at-bats for the players who helped carry the Yankees through most of the first half of the season, including Brett Gardner.
Boone said he still expects “Gardy to play a lot.”
The first domino fell Sunday night when outfielder Clint Frazier was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Encarnacion primarily will serve as designated hitter. Boone said he could use Encarnacion, tops in the American League with 21 homers, at first base on occasion.
Stanton has eight at-bats this season and last stepped into the batter’s box in pinstripes for the season-opening series against the Baltimore Orioles.
The 29-year-old had 97 total home runs the previous two seasons.
Judge is progressing at a rehab assignment, including a roped RBI single off the wall on Sunday.
He hit five home runs in the 20 games he played in 2019 before the oblique injury.
—Field Level Media