As if the New York Yankees weren’t in enough trouble as of late, slugging second baseman Starlin Castro injured his right hamstring in last night’s victory over the Chicago White Sox and was forced to leave the game early.
Say It Ain’t So Castro: Starlin Castro Injured for Slumping Yankees
While the team confirmed that they was believe it is strain, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reported that Castro will undergo an MRI today. He added that, “Castro still hopes he can avoid [the] DL.”
Big Shoes to Fill
Castro, in the midst of one of the best seasons of his career, has played a large role in the Yankees offense all season.
Castro ranks second in the American League in multi-hit games and has been a productive middle-of-the-order bat. Coming off a career high 21 home runs in 2016, he already has 12 this season. He also already has 45 RBI, which had him on pace for a career high.
Triple-A infielder Tyler Wade will be the likely replacement if Castro is forced to spend any time at all on the disabled list. He was removed from last night’s Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders game after Castro was pulled in Chicago.
This season, Wade’s first in Triple-A, he has hit .313, driven in 25 runs, and stolen 24 bases in 28 tries. His speed could, at least temporarily, give the big league team a dimension which they haven’t had in a while.
The roster features good speed, but small ball is certainly not a point of emphasis of theirs. Rather, a team featuring two speedster outfielders has swiped just 46 bases in 74 games.
Wade’s bat and speed should set allow him to not only fill in for Castro’s offensive production, but provide the team with versatility. His defense is less than stellar, but if he struggles manager Joe Girardi could always turn to the team’s Swiss army knife—Ronald Torreyes.
The Yankees, barely clinging to first place in the American League East, already lost Aaron Hicks to an oblique injury during Sunday’s loss to Texas.
Hicks’ shockingly good play this season allowed the team to afford veteran Jacoby Ellsbury as much time as he needed to return from his concussion, but now the team needs him to return and to play well.
The forced insertion of Ellsbury and Wade will certainly serve to shake up the lineup, but perhaps it’s just what this team needs to bust them out of a skid. The two will inject a lot of athleticism and quickness into a batting order which has fallen in love with the long-ball.
Two players who can get on base and snag bases on their own, while also forcing pitchers to pay attention to them, can open doors for this offense.
This team can hit the long-ball as well or better than any team in baseball, but if they can adopt some semblance of a small-ball game as well then there’s no telling what their ceiling is.
How the Yankees push through this prolonged stretch of losses, coupled with an unlucky rash of injuries, will likely determine if they will be able to contend come September.
If they can right the ship and return to their winning ways, they can continue to play with house money and let it ride; but if this skid lasts into and through the All-Star break, Yankees fans might just have to deal with the true growing pains of a rebuilding team.