The Yankees keep winning and the injuries keep following. First it was Edwin Encarnacion. Later Aaron Hicks.
Two more key players lost, the duo joining Luke Voit on the possible endangered Yankees list that could hamper this team’s hopes of playing deep into October.
Encarnacion was placed on the injured list with a right wrist hairline fracture after getting hit by a Josh Smith pitch in Game 1 of a doubleheader with the Red Sox on Saturday. Aaron Hicks left Game 2 with right elbow pain and will get an MRI exam on Sunday. Voit is already in limbo, on the IL unsure if he will need surgery to repair a sports hernia that could end his season.
“For me, yeah, it’s frustrating,” Encarnacion said after the Yankees shook off the injuries and swept a doubleheader, 9-2 and 6-4, from the free-falling Red Sox in The Bronx. “I was starting to feel better at the plate, seeing the ball better. It’s tough for me.”
Encarnacion, who had three hits in the opener before becoming the 25th Yankee to be sent to the IL this year, was in obvious pain after getting hit by the pitch but stayed in the game to run the bases. He will remain in New York during the team’s upcoming road trip and will be reevaluated by doctors in the next seven-to-10 days. A further rehab timeline will follow.
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If this injury had happened a week ago, the Yankees could’ve looked for a replacement for Encarnacion. But without an Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline anymore, they can’t add anyone for the postseason. Instead, first baseman Mike Ford was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to replace Encarnacion on the roster.
“I hope no more than three weeks [I’ll be out]. We’ll see,” Encarnacion said. “They don’t tell me exactly. Maybe three [weeks], maybe four, maybe five.”
As for Hicks, his status is uncertain. He felt pain in the elbow after making a throw and it didn’t go away, limiting him the next time a strong throw was needed. Brett Gardner replaced him in the eighth inning. Manager Aaron Boone didn’t want to speculate on the severity, but he said it seemed like an injury.
“Anything with the elbow it always makes you nervous,” Hicks said. “I’m going to stay positive right now until we get the final decision.”
Without Voit, Encarnacion had been playing some first base, in addition to his designated hitter duties. DJ LeMahieu started at first base in both games of the doubleheader on Saturday. If Hicks has to go on the IL, the Yankees could call up defensively challenged outfielder Clint Frazier, who has been bypassed several times for a promotion after being sent down in mid-June.
Since being acquired from the Mariners in exchange for prospect Juan Then on June 15, Encarnacion has performed well, slashing .223/.312/.489 with nine home runs in 35 games. Hicks, meanwhile, already has spent a lot of time on the IL, missing the first six weeks of the season with a lower back strain.
— Additional reporting by Dan Martin