NEW YORK — No team in baseball has dealt with more injuries than the New York Yankees this season. They currently have 12 players on the injured list — — and many of them are core players. Miguel Andujar, Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, and Giancarlo Stanton are all sidelined.
As a result, the Yankees sent out a lineup Tuesday night that included only three projected starting position players: Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, and Gleyber Torres. The other six lineup spots went to projected bench players or injury call-ups, and it was those second and third stringers who helped deliver a win over the Red Sox (NYY 8, BOS 0).
Clint Frazier, who was called up when Stanton hit the injured list, swatted an opposite field solo home run against Chris Sale in the fourth inning, and raised his season batting line to a healthy .293/.311/.585.
‘m just happy to be out here,” Frazier said following Tuesday’s win. “Getting the opportunity to play every day is something that’s making me feel a lot more comfortable in the box. When I have success, obviously, I’m having fun.”
Two innings later third baseman Gio Urshela turned in maybe the defensive play of the season when he when took a base hit — possibly an extra-base hit — away from Mookie Betts. Urshela fielded a ground ball in foul territory, slipped on the grass, and still made an accurate throw to first base while falling. It was a spectacular play.
“I don’t know how he got that much on it when he slipped,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He can really defend. Getting to watch him up close in spring training and in the season, it’s one of those things you can tell comes really easy to him. That was a special play.”
Urshela added a double later in the game and also scored a run. He’s hitting .300/.417/.450 since being called up following Andujar’s injury. He has long been known as a defense-first third baseman. Urshela has contributed a little bit with the bat as well this year.
Fourth outfielder Mike Tauchman has been with the Yankees all season, though Bird’s injury pushed him into the starting lineup Tuesday night, and he responded with the best game of his MLB career. Tauchman doubled in a run against Sale in the fourth inning, and also hit his first big league home run in the sixth. It was a three-run shot.
“Sometimes when the playing time is sporadic — that’s my role and I have to embrace it — you get multiple days worth of at-bats, you can kind of find your confidence, find your groove,” Tauchman said during a postgame on-field interview with the YES Network.
Frazier, Urshela, and Tauchman combined to go 4 for 12 (.333) with two doubles, two home runs, three runs scored, and five runs driven in Tuesday night. And one stellar defensive play too. Can’t forget that.
Tuesday’s win only improved the Yankees to 7-9 on the young season, so it would be wrong to say the replacement players have helped keep them afloat in the early going. The Yankees are still short at the bottom of the lineup most days. For one night though, things came together and the Yankees received big contributions both at the plate and in the field from their call-ups.