Sunday, January 29, 2023

Anthony Rizzo injury update: Yankees first baseman heading to injured list with nagging back issue

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The New York Yankees have struggled to generate offense the last few weeks, and now they’ll be without their two left-handed bats for the foreseeable future. First baseman Anthony Rizzo will be placed on the 10-day injured list with a back issue, manager Aaron Boone announced Tuesday. Outfielder Andrew Benintendi hit the injured list with a broken hamate bone this past weekend.

Rizzo, 33, last played last Wednesday. He has dealt with persistent back issues his entire career, though it usually only sidelines him a few days each year. This time the back trouble was bad enough to require an epidural this past weekend. The Yankees hoped Rizzo would be able to return to the lineup this week, though that obviously won’t be the case.

“Frankly I don’t think it’s anything back-related now. He’s just dealing with headaches [from the epidural] and stuff. He’s still under doctor’s orders to rest ” Boone said Tuesday. “So there’s gonna be at least a few days ramp up once we get him going. We just gotta get him to that point. So that’s been a little frustrating for him the last few days.”

It should be noted super utility man DJ LeMahieu, New York’s backup first baseman, is dealing with a toe issue that limits how often the Yankees want to play him in the field. Because of that, the club plans to call up former Texas Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzmán to fill Rizzo’s roster spot. Guzmán is hitting .260/.357/.466 with 12 homers in 90 Triple-A games this year.

The Yankees are 11-20 in their last 31 games, and during that time they’re averaging 3.29 runs per game and hit .212/.288/.340 as a team, and that’s with Aaron Judge hitting .310/.469/.690 in those 31 games. New York’s lineup is very fluid these days, but without Benintendi and Rizzo, it figures to look something like this most days:

  1. 1B DJ LeMahieu
  2. CF Aaron Judge
  3. DH Giancarlo Stanton
  4. 3B Josh Donaldson
  5. 2B Gleyber Torres
  6. C Jose Trevino
  7. RF Oswaldo Cabrera
  8. SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa
  9. LF Aaron Hicks

Rizzo owns a .225/.339/.493 batting line with 30 home runs this season. The rest of New York’s left-handed hitters have 36 home runs, including 15 by the injured Matt Carpenter and 12 by the since-traded Joey Gallo. Carpenter is out with a broken foot and is still in a walking boot, and it’s unclear whether he will return this season.

Despite their recent skid, the Yankees enter Tuesday with an 81-54 record and a five-game lead in the AL East.

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