The Yankees on Sunday placed designated hitter/outfielder Giancarlo Stanton on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. He suffered the injury running the bases Saturday and tests Monday revealed a Grade 1 hamstring strain, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman. A Grade 1 strain typically comes with a 3-4 week recovery. The Yankees have not yet confirmed the diagnosis.
Stanton, 30, had been off to an especially strong start in 2020. Through 14 games and 54 plate appearances, he put up a slash line of .293/.453/.585 with three home runs, three doubles, and nearly as many walks (10) as strikeouts (11). Stanton has been a key part of a Yankees offense that presently ranks second in the majors in OPS and is fourth in home runs.
Unfortunately, Stanton's propensity for injury is undeniable at this point. Last season, he was limited to just 18 games because of a biceps strain followed by a knee injury. Had the season started on time in March, Stanton would have been on the injured list with a calf strain suffered in spring training. Earlier in his career, he was also limited by a number of lower half injuries.
Across parts of 11 MLB seasons Stanton has been able to play in 145 or more games in a season just four times. From 2011, when Stanton played his first full season, through 2019 he averaged just 118 games per season. The Yankees acquired Stanton in a blockbuster trade with the Marlins in December of 2017. Stanton did log 158 games in his first season in New York.
Given that the 2020 season has been abbreviated to just 60 games because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a 3-4 week absence would sideline Stanton the major of the season. It puts him on track to return in early September at the earliest. The Yankees dealt with an inordinate number of injuries in 2019, but thanks to their impressive depth they were still able to win 103 games.
The Yankees have no shortage of DH candidates to replace Stanton. Clint Frazier is expected to be recalled Tuesday to fill the vacant roster spot, lefty slugger Mike Ford has impressed in limited MLB time the last two years, and 2018 Rookie of the Year runner-up Miguel Andujar is stashed at the alternate site. None of those guys are Stanton, but they are capable hitters.
Manager Aaron Boone indicated the Yankees will be "creative" with the DH spot during Stanton's absence. Andujar, Ford, and Frazier figure to share time there with Aaron Judge, Mike Tauchman, Luke Voit and others rotating in regularly.