On Tuesday, just before the start of the Subway Series, the New York Yankees placed slugger Giancarlo Stanton on the injured list with left Achilles tendonitis. Coming out of the All-Star break, Stanton’s logged just 10 at-bats in the team’s last five games.
It’s been a busy year for the man, especially since he played in the All-Star Game and won the MVP award for his game-tying two-run homer. The Yankees likely took notice of that when they gave him the day off in Thursday’s Game 1 of the doubleheader against the Houston Astros.
But then it was evident something was bothering Stanton. He played the second game on Thursday and then the series opener against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday before being left out of the starting lineup on Saturday night.
Though manager Aaron Boone called on him to pinch hit, Stanton’s showing was a bad one — he struck out looking on a handful of pitches. It was swift.
Then came Sunday. Stanton was out of the lineup again prompting fans to believe something was afoot, but the slugger attempted to calm everyone’s nerves before the start of the series finale in Baltimore.
Nope. Instead, he’s out for several weeks.
Why did the Yankees not place Giancarlo Stanton on the IL earlier?
Nobody was fooled, though. And nobody’s surprised Stanton’s now going to miss time. At this point, the question is: why didn’t the Yankees just put him on the IL the moment he was experiencing any discomfort, given the fact he’s had trouble with lower body injuries and didn’t really get any rest over the break because of his participation in the All-Star Game? Stanton spending 10 days on the shelf would’ve hardly done any harm.
The Yankees, so many times in the past, have mismanaged injuries, so it’s puzzling why they’d take the approach of “sort of” resting Stanton when there was any belief something may have been wrong.
They just saw this happen with Luis Severino, who once again opted not to tell the team something was wrong. He claimed wasn’t “feeling that great” the morning of his last outing on July 13, but instead opted to pitch. That resulted in the right-hander pitching in an abbreviated start before quickly hitting the IL with a shoulder injury. He’s still yet to start throwing.
While they may not have had control over the Severino situation, why even chance it with Stanton, who’s your second-best hitter in a season that has the highest World Series aspirations possibly since 2009?
Maybe this is a whole lot of nothing. Maybe this is the Yankees being cautious after Stanton’s issue unexpectedly got worse over the course of a few days. But giving him two games off in the span of three days doesn’t really give off that vibe — it seems something may have been off, but there was a willingness to work through it.
With the most wins in MLB and a 12-game lead in the division, is it really worth it to even consider that option with one of your best players? The Yankees love giving players time off with phantom IL stints. Stanton should’ve probably just been on the shelf right when the second half began if there was even a minuscule concern about his leg. Maybe the team wanted the narrative to look better, instead of timing the IL stint directly after the All-Star Game?
The historic injury rate in 2019, followed by more bad luck and awful injury management in 2020 and 2021, should have the Yankees on high alert any time one of their most important players is experiencing any sort of physical issue.
Hopefully this is a whole lot of nothing, but fans can’t help but be scarred by puzzling decisions that have held the team back in recent years.