Giancarlo Stanton played right field in his second rehab game with Single-A Tampa on Wednesday night and could return to the Yankees as soon as Monday, just in time for them to face the Rays for what figures to be an important week, since AL West-leading Houston follows Tampa Bay into The Bronx.
Aaron Boone said Tuesday that Aaron Judge could also return at some point during the 10-game homestand, so the Yankees’ offense figures to look considerably better by the time they face the Red Sox in London at the end of the month.
The lineup likely won’t be the only thing to change over the next month, with the Yankees still scouring the league for available starting pitching.
With the amateur draft behind them, front offices can now focus more on the trade market — and since the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is the last opportunity for teams to make significant additions to their roster for the second half of the season, that market figures to pick up soon.
The Yankees still seem to be lukewarm — at best — on the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner. Not everyone is convinced the left-hander can help a contender down the stretch. Bumgarner’s numbers have been notably better in recent outings after a shaky start to the year. In his first 10 outings, the 29-year-old had a 4.21 ERA in 62 innings. Over his past four starts, he has allowed just eight earned runs in 25 innings (2.88 ERA).
The Royals’ Danny Duffy, the Tigers’ Matthew Boyd and the Blue Jays’ Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman are other possibilities for teams looking for rotation help. And the Yankees’ need in that department only seems to intensify.
After another subpar outing from James Paxton on Tuesday against the Mets, both the left-hander and Boone proclaimed his left knee was fine — but Boone acknowledged they would have to keep a close eye on the knee that sent Paxton to the injured list last month.
Paxton is far from the only issue with the rotation, which was fortified during the offseason with his addition, as well as the free agent re-signing of J.A. Happ.
Boone proclaimed faith in his starters following the Yankees’ doubleheader split against the Mets at the Stadium.
“I feel like we have all guys capable of going out there and pitching well for us,’’ Boone said. “I think [Paxton] is close to being that dominant guy. I thought [Masahiro] Tanaka pitched better [Tuesday]. Obviously, Happ has been throwing the ball well for us. CC [Sabathia] has been pitching well enough. Then obviously, we’ve got to fill that fifth spot right now. It’s a little bit of a challenge, obviously, with what we’re going through, but guys are capable of getting it done.”
Still, there are troublesome signs with virtually all of them, including Domingo German, who is out with a strained hip flexor and blamed his recent struggles on the injury.
Tanaka survived his mediocre outing against the Mets largely because the Yankees beat up Zack Wheeler.
The addition of Stanton as soon as Monday, with Judge perhaps to follow, will only help the rotation’s cause.
Stanton, who went 2-for-3 with two home runs, three RBIs and a strikeout Wednesday night, is in line to join Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday when they play in Durham, N.C. And with Tampa off for the weekend because of the Florida State League All-Star Game in Jupiter, Fla., the Yankees haven’t ruled out the possibility of Judge joining Stanton with SWB.
“He’s potentially game-ready somewhere this weekend,’’ Boone said of Judge. “He’s doing really well. It’s a decision we’ll make over the next few days.’’
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