Joey Gallo and Kyle Higashioka were physically at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday after staying home on Sunday and Monday because they were feeling under the weather. Higashioka was feeling well enough to get added back to the active roster, but he was not in the starting lineup. Gallo and Josh Donaldson are still on the COVID-19 list.
“Joey and Higgy are both here and doing well,” Boone said. “They went through some workouts. They’re doing really well. Josh [Donaldson] is still under the weather so we had him stay home.”
Both Gallo and Donaldson continue to test negative for COVID. Boone said, to his knowledge, nobody else in the Yankee clubhouse is feeling sick. With a wave of players hitting the COVID IL again and players needing to be called up from the minor leagues on short notice, Boone was asked if this reminded him of the hectic nature of the first two seasons that were played during the pandemic.
“Twenty-twenty and 2021 felt like a scramble,” Boone said. “There’s been hours over the past few days where it’s felt like a bit of a scramble, but nothing we can’t handle.”
After Boone spoke to reporters, DJ LeMahieu was also scratched from the lineup with “left wrist discomfort.” He was originally penciled into third base and the leadoff spot, but the updated lineup card showed Aaron Hicks hitting first and Marwin Gonzalez at the hot corner, batting eighth.
LeMahieu was present at Yankee Stadium before the game and on the field during batting practice. After the game, Boone explained what was going on with the infielder’s wrist.
“DJ got an MRI and it was clean,” he said. “That was really good news. He got a cortisone shot. We’re pretty optimistic that he’s back, if not [Wednesday] then the next day.”
CHAPMAN GOING ON IL
Aroldis Chapman has not pitched since Sunday, the day he publicly acknowledged that he was having some issues with his left Achilles. On Tuesday, he was officially placed on the 15-day injured list with Achilles tendinitis.
Boone called an IL stint a “likely” scenario during his pregame press conference, which was roughly an hour and a half before the move became official. His update on Chapman was slightly sunny, but obviously the clouds have not totally dispersed.
“Chappy’s doing a little bit better,” Boone said. “He’s improving.”
The closer has received treatment on the tendon, which Boone said has not included any sort of injection.
RIZZO NOT HITTING
As Aaron Judge sets fire to everything in his way, Anthony Rizzo has gone noticeably cold.
Rizzo’s tremendous start to the season adds a nice coat of paint to his overall numbers, but in the month of May, he’s been a .183 hitter. The first baseman’s power has dried up too, as nine of his 10 home runs came in April.
“I feel like it’s a bit of a timing thing,” Aaron Boone said of Rizzo’s recent issues at the plate. “Sometimes he’s been a little bit late on pitches or just miss-hit some pitches, so that quality of contact hasn’t been the same. I think that consistent quality of contact is probably as simple as a timing thing.”
Plenty of hitters have bad months at some point during a season, and someone with enough experience as Rizzo typically knows how to get back on track. But this streakiness is something to monitor with the 32-year-old, who has not totally looked like himself since contracting COVID last August, particularly in the slugging department.
A player with a .481 career slugging percentage, who owns five career seasons with a slugging percentage north of .500, Rizzo slugged a puzzling .397 down the stretch last season after returning from the COVID injured list. His sizzling start to this season is, so far, the outlier of his Yankee career.
In April 2022, he slugged .675 with 13 extra base hits and 21 RBI. In May, those numbers are back down to .310, six and four. Perhaps June will bring the magic potion back to Rizzo’s bats.
“Hitting can be so fickle, even if you’re really good at it,” Boone plainly put it.
Rizzo, almost on cue, hit a home run in his first at-bat of Tuesday night’s chaotic win against the Orioles.
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