Yankees: Edwin Encarnacion is ready to return from the IL
After missing the last month with a fractured right wrist Yankees 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion is ready to return from the IL. The veteran slugger finished a two-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton on Monday and will return to the big league lineup Tuesday night.
The Yankees offense didn’t really miss a beat while Encarnacion was out of action but with October right around the corner, his return comes at a perfect time. Prior to fracturing his wrist on a hit by a pitch against the Red Sox on August 3rd, the 36-year old had been one of New York’s hottest hitters since the All-Star break.
Over his last 78 at-bats, he was hitting .333 with 5 HR, 8 2B, 20 RBI and an OPS of 1.050. Before the break, he had really struggled with the Yankees hitting well under .200, but you knew he was going to turn it around eventually given his track record.
Now that Encarnacion is back it’s going to be interesting to see how Aaron Boone splits up the at-bats at first base and designated hitter between him, Voit and the red hot Mike Ford. The rookie has done a great job over the last couple of weeks filling in for Voit and EE, hitting .405 with 6 HR and 8 RBI over his last 13 games.
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The Yanks can rotate the three between DH and 1B, especially if Ford continues to swing the bat well, but soon they’re also going to welcome back Giancarlo Stanton who was their primary DH a season ago. How he fits into the mix is one of the biggest questions the Yankees are going to have to answer down the stretch but for now, they should be able to split the reps somewhat evenly at DH and 1B.
The Yankees are so deep at multiple positions so any lineup Boone pencils in for the rest of the regular season is going to produce results, but come the postseason I think Encarnacion is someone who needs to play.
He’s a guy who’s been on the October stage before and isn’t going to be overwhelmed by the big moment. He hits good pitching, he always gives his team a quality at-bat and makes opposing pitchers work. He’s also hitting .306 this season with RISP and the Yanks need as many guys in their lineup as possible who consistently come through in those situations.
Update: Encarnacion is back in the lineup Tuesday night hitting fifth against the Rangers. After he completed his rehab assignment with Scranton he told reporters he’s feeling 100 percent so hopefully he can pick up right where he left off to finish off September.