Yankees: Edwin Encarnacion suffers a left oblique strain


The Yankees swept their doubleheader against the Tigers but in the process, Edwin Encarnacion left game one early with a left oblique strain. The injury comes at the worst possible time with the playoffs just over three weeks away.

Injuries have been the theme of the 2019 season for the Yankees up to this point and with just 15 games to go, that continues to be the case. Earlier this week they lost Mike Tauchman for the season to a calf strain and on Wednesday it was pretty much confirmed that Aaron Hicks is likely done for the season as well after receiving a second opinion on his right elbow.

After the game, Aaron Boone told reporters that Encarnacion felt the oblique issue early in the game but that it didn’t affect him while swinging. The Yankees are hopeful that it’s just a minor injury because he played through it and launched another home run during his second at-bat of the game. Following his fifth-inning walk he stayed in the game to run, but the next time he was due up in the seventh he was pinch-hit for by Mike Ford.

Encarnacion will travel to New York for more testing to get an official diagnosis but if he did, in fact, strain his oblique he’s definitely out for at least the rest of the regular season. The Yankees seem somewhat optimistic right now but we all remember Aaron Judge straining his oblique back on April 20th and he didn’t return from the IL until June 21st.

If this oblique injury is as significant as the one Judge had it’s hard to envision Edwin returning during the postseason either. That would be a huge blow to the Yankees lineup because he’d been swinging a hot bat since he came back on September 3rd from the wrist fracture he suffered on August 3rd. In eight games since he returned off the IL, he was hitting .294 with 4 HR and 10 RBI and since the All-Star break, he was hitting .321 with 9 HR and 30 RBI.

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Losing Encarnacion at this point in the season is a huge blow but the Yankees do still have Luke Voit and Mike Ford to split some of the at-bats at DH and first base. Ford hasn’t played much of late after he really stepped up while Voit and Encarnacion were previously on the shelf so hopefully, he can pick up right where he left off.

They also have Giancarlo Stanton nearing his return and if the injuries to Tauchman and Hicks didn’t already increase the importance of his return the injury to Encarnacion certainly has. They need him back more than ever and they need him to produce.

We’ll have to wait and see if Ford can join Stanton on the postseason roster because now he should get the chance to earn a spot down the stretch. As for Voit, we know he’ll be on it and after the loss of Encarnacion, he’ll probably be in the starting lineup too.

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That was up for debate before Wednesday, but now I’d assume he has to be in there, especially since it looks like he’s found his groove again at the plate.