NEW YORK -- Saturday afternoon, the Yankees blew out the rival Red Sox (NYY 9, BOS 2) to earn their third straight win, and their fourth win in the last five games. New York is 12 1/2 games up on Boston in the AL East.
The win came at a cost, however. In the eighth inning slugger Edwin Encarnacion took a Josh Smith pitch to the right wrist, and postgame tests revealed a fracture. Encarnacion had both X-rays and a CT scan. Here's the play:
I know these are two historic rivals and there's always a rush to declare these things purpose pitches, but that obviously was not intentional. Smith hit Encarnacion with an 87 mph slider that backed up. A poorly thrown pitch, that's all. It happens.
The Yankees placed Encarnacion on the 10-day injured list prior to the second game of Saturday's doubleheader and said he will be reevaluated in 7-10 days. Fractured wrists usually aren't short-term injuries. Encarnacion's season may be in jeopardy.
Following a slow start with the Yankees, Encarnacion has gone 26 for 78 (.333) with five home runs in his last 20 games, including going 3 for 4 in Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader. He had settled in as the team's regular No. 3 hitter after coming over from the Mariners in a June trade.
New York's top three first baseman are all on the injured list now. This is the team's first base depth chart:Luke Voit (on the injured list and facing surgery for a sports hernia)Edwin Encarnacion (on the injured list with a broken wrist)Greg Bird (on the injured list since May with a torn plantar fascia)DJ LeMahieuMike Ford (called up to replace Encarnacion)
LeMahieu, a natural second baseman, has played all around the infield this season and is expected to step in as the full-time first baseman, with Ford backing him up. With the elimination of trade waivers, the Yankees can not go outside the organization to trade for first base depth the remainder of the season. What they have is what they have
The Yankees currently have 15 players on the injured list -- they've placed 25 different players on the injured list this year -- including Voit, Giancarlo Stanton (knee), and Gary Sanchez (groin), so they're missing some very important bats. Also, shortstop Didi Gregorius is day-to-day with what amounts to a bruised knuckle.
The club's lineup for Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader is what you could expect for the time being:
The Yankees did not trade Clint Frazier prior to the trade deadline and could summon him from Triple-A to join the outfield/DH rotation, but it seems unlikely. They've resisted calling him up since he was demoted in June, and besides, Ford was already brought up to replace Encarnacion. Frazier is staying in Triple-A.
New York came into Saturday with a 7 1/2-game lead in the AL East, and while the division race is far from over, the Yankees do have some cushion. Sanchez and Gregorius should return to the lineup soon, and the Yankees expect Stanton back at some point. Otherwise the offense will take a hit in the short-term without Encarnacion.