Yankees hit fans with surprising injury news and huge lineup changes

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - APRIL 26: Pitcher Darren O'Day #56 of the New York Yankees reacts after balking against the Baltimore Orioles during the sixth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 26, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - APRIL 26: Pitcher Darren O'Day #56 of the New York Yankees reacts after balking against the Baltimore Orioles during the sixth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 26, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Things were going well. They really were.

The New York Yankees routed the Detroit Tigers on Friday night by a score of 10-0. Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge powered the victory. Gerrit Cole was unhittable.

Take that momentum into Saturday, right? Let’s sweep the worst team in baseball!

But first, we’ll have to deal with some injury news and significant lineup alterations. Can we ever just get two nice days in a row?

Out of nowhere, the Yankees announced that they were placing Darren O’Day on the injured list with a right rotator cuff strain, which you have to think affected him during his outing in Baltimore.

In his place, Michael King has been recalled, and deservedly so. He’s yet to give up a run in three multi-inning relief appearances and belongs on the big-league roster.

O’Day hitting the shelf certainly is not good for a bullpen that’s already been overworked, especially since he’s been one of manager Aaron Boone’s go-to guys in tight situations. As of late, however, the bullpen’s largely been rested well thanks to a few lengthy outings from the starters, so the Yankees will probably be able to get by in the short term.

As for the lineup, Boone is taking his foot off the gas pedal. On one hand, it’s understandable. The Tigers are bad. Give a few guys a day off, right? But the Yankees haven’t been putting away bad competition early in the season, and Friday night’s barrage of runs could’ve been used as a springboard for continued offensive production.

Instead, Stanton and Gio Urshela are out of the lineup. Gary Sanchez is back. Mike Ford is playing first base. Rougned Odor is batting third. And Judge is the designated hitter.

Yankees fans will usually always find a way to be upset, but Stanton getting a day off amid his hot streak just feels wrong. He just registered three hits in three straight games for the first time in his career and has been slashing .438/.455/.594 in his last 32 at-bats (eight-game hitting streak). He’s been raking in the two-hole.

With slumps so easy to come by in this lineup, you’d think Boone would roll with every hot hand as long as possible in the early going. But things have been backwards to start the 2021 season.

The good news? It’s May. “It’s just April” is over. Turning the calendar could get more of the guys going. And it starts today.