Injury-plagued Yankees weathering the storm

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Been following baseball for 60 years, but can’t ever recall an injury list longer than the Yankees this year. Lots of hobbled talent right now. Heck it takes three innings just to give the injury report.

At one point the Bombers had 13 men on the injured list, including 3 outfielders, two shortstops, a catcher, a first baseman, the staff ace and a top reliever. And others.

Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Luis Severino, Didi Gregorius, Dellin Betances, Miguel Andujar. It’s an All-Star list. Aaron Judge, shown above, the most indispensable Yankee of them all, is sidelined with an oblique injury and there’s no timetable for his return. With Judge is Yankee trainer Steve Donohoe, who is getting way too much air time these days.

Despite this staggering outbreak of injuries – at one point the Yankees had 176 home runs on the IL —  the team has maintained a competitive pace, 4 games above .500 and well ahead of the slow-starting Red Sox in the AL East.

Granted much of that has come against weak competition and a favorable schedule. But just last year the Yankees were criticized for not being able to beat the bottom feeders consistently. Beating lousy teams is a good thing.

Guys like starter Domingo German, outfielder Clint Frazier, utility man JD Lemahieu and Scranton callups like Tyler Wade, Gia Urshela and Mike Tauchman have helped keep the ship afloat during tough times.

The reinforcements are starting to arrive. Gary Sanchez came back last week and hit a monstrous grand slam in San Francisco which is still traveling. Frazier, third on the team with 17 RBI and hitting .324, and third baseman Andujar, out all season with a partially torn labrum, are supposedly ready to return to the lineup.

The schedule heats up immediately with AL best Minnesota, Seattle and AL East leader Tampa Bay up next. Good time for some of the cavalry to return.


Giancarlo debut best since Maris in 1960

giancarloYou have to go back nearly 60 years to find a Yankee debut like the one Giancarlo Stanton had in his first game in pinstripes. On April 19, 1960,  the Yankees opened the season at Fenway Park with a 9-4 victory over the Red Sox.

That day, a guy named Roger Maris, an outfielder acquired from the Kansas City A’s in the off-season, batted lead-off for the Yankees that day and doubled.

Maris later hit a pair of of home runs and singled in another run. He finished with four hits, four RBIs and a 5-2-4-4 line.

The Rajah won the AL MVP in 1960, and lost the World Series in seven games to Bill Mazeroski and the Pirates. The following year Maris hit 61 home runs to break Babe Ruth’s record, won the MVP again, and helped the Yankees beat the Reds in five games in the World Series.

For the record, Stanton homered twice, doubled and drove in four runs to lead the Yankees to a 6-1 win over the Blue Jays in the opener. He finished 5-3-3-4 for the game.


Potent pinstripe pair powers talk of HR peaks

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Adding National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton to a powerful lineup that already includes American League Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge has baseball fans, Yankee fans, dreaming of record home run harvests in 2018.

Stanton, who led the majors in homers last year with 59, is one of the few home run champions to be traded, part of a short list that includes Babe Ruth and Alex Rodriguez. And Judge with 52 homers broke Mark McGwire’s rookie record of 49, established in 1987.

The only time teammates each hit 50 homers in a season was 1961, when Roger Maris (61) and Mickey Mantle (54) hammered their way to the record with 115 total home runs.

Stanton and Judge pose a threat to both of those records. If they had played on the same team last year, their 111 combined home runs would have been second on the all-time list.

The rest of the top five home runs by teammates features:

110 – Barry Bonds (73) and Rich Aurilia (37), 2001 Giants

107 – Babe Ruth (60) and Lou Gehrig (47), 1927 Yankees

101 – Mark McGwire (70) and Ray Lankford (31), 1998 Cardinals

100 – Alex Rodriguez (57) and Rafael Palmeiro (43, 2001 Rangers