Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela was placed on the 10-day IL Friday with a left groin strain. The 27-year old infielder is likely to return around the time he is eligible. This means he may return for the end next weekend’s series against the Red Sox in Boston.
So, what does this mean for the Yankees going forward?
First of all, Urshela will be missed. Entering play Friday, his .331 batting average was ranked fourth best in the majors this season.
MLB Leaders In AVG- min. 400 Plate Appearances*
Fans may not have cared as much about Urshela’s status at the start of the season. Remember, he was acquired from the Blue Jays in August of 2018. The Yankees were Urshela’s third organization in four months. He was on the club’s radar for his glove, as opposed to his bat. Urshela was just a career .225 hitter with eight homers and 39 RBI in 167 games from 2015-to-2018.
Flash forward to 2019 where Urshela has become one of the team’s most valuable players—if not the second-most valuable, only to DJ LeMahieu. I can’t count the number of times his bat and his glove have saved the day for New York throughout the season.
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With Urshela out, I imagine LeMahieu will get the majority of the reps at third base. He got the start at third on Friday against the Athletics. Luke Voit returned from the IL and got the start at first (and went 2-4), while Gary Sanchez was the designated hitter. Voit and Mike Ford will each likely see time at first base and when Voit isn’t at first, expect him to DH a lot.
The rosters are also expanding on Sunday September 1st, which means the Yankees could call up infielder Breyvic Valera. In eleven games for the Yanks this season, Valera is batting .219 with a double, a triple and no home runs. Tyler Wade could also see more playing time to spot LeMahieu, Didi and Torres when they need days off.
Granted, again, this IL stint is expected to be a short one for Urshela. The Yankees have nothing to worry about, as long as he’s healthy and ready come October.