Shortstop Gleyber Torres became the latest high-profile New York Yankees player to land on the 10-day injured list, the team announced Friday afternoon. The Yankees were optimistic that Torres' injury was minor, but an MRI on Friday morning confirmed that a stint on the injured list was required after the diagnosis of Grade 1 strains of his left quadriceps and left hamstring.
Manager Aaron Boone said Saturday that Torres would be out "at least two weeks."
Torres' hamstring tightened up running out a grounder in the bottom of the third inning Thursday night. He was taken out of the game in the fifth inning and was replaced by Tyler Wade at shortstop. Torres is batting .231 with one home run and six RBIs this season.
Reliever Zack Britton was placed on the 10-day IL before the game Thursday because of a strained left hamstring. The Yankees also said an MRI revealed a Grade 1 strain of left-hander James Paxton's left forearm flexor. Boone said the MRI didn't show any ligament damage, but Paxton will be shut down for 14 days and then reevaluated.
Paxton exited Thursday night's start after five innings complaining of discomfort in his forearm/elbow area. The lefty starter earned a no-decision after allowing three runs on one hit over five innings, with four walks and eight strikeouts. The Rays beat the Yankees 10-5 to sweep the three-game series in the Bronx and take over first place in the American League East.
The 30-year-old Paxton is less than six months removed from back surgery, after undergoing a microscopic lumbar discectomy to remove a peridiscal cyst and repair a herniated disk back in February. He would have missed the first six to eight weeks of the regular season if MLB had not shut down in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Paxton had shown problems with his velocity this season, hovering around 92-93 mph, down from his 2019 average of 95.4 mph. Paxton is 1-1 with a 6.64 ERA in five starts this season.
Manager Aaron Boone said he isn't worried about filling Paxton's spot in the rotation just yet.
"We don't have any games this weekend. We have a couple off days coming up next week, so we don't have to really do anything real quick on that front," Boone said on WFAN. "We have Michael King, who's done a good job for us who's kind of built up. We have Nick Nelson up right now who can give us multiple innings. [Jonathan] Loaisiga can be a guy that gives us a few innings. We have guys that could certainly fill that fill that role for us.
The beleaguered Yankees lineup is already without DJ LeMahieu (left thumb sprain), Giancarlo Stanton (left hamstring strain) and Aaron Judge (right calf sprain), although Judge is expected to be activated off the IL before the team's next game, Boone said. LeMahieu is the AL batting leader with a .411 average, and Judge has the second-most home runs in the American League with nine.
Boone said the news on LeMahieu is encouraging.
"I'd say he's doing significantly better than anticipated. I think it'd be sooner rather than later," Boone said on WFAN. "He took some dry swings for the first time today; played catch for the first time. So I don't want to put time on it. The initial prognosis was two to three weeks, [and] I think that's gonna be a fair estimate. So we're getting closer on DJ."
With the addition of Torres, and with Luis Severino and Tommy Kahnle having undergone elbow surgery, the Yankees have eight players on the injured list, and that's after Aroldis Chapman and Luis Cessa returned from the COVID-19 IL in recent weeks.
"We've been hard hit here in the last week to 10 days, but I do feel like we're equipped to handle it," Boone said. "I feel like in some of the cases we're getting, some better news than maybe we expected. We expect Aaron Judge back here now, and we feel like DJ is doing well, Giancarlo continues to improve, and Zack Britton we feel like we'll be on the shorter side and hoping that we avoided serious situations with Gleyber and Paxton and Avilán going down."
The Yankees and the Mets were supposed to play the first installment of the 2020 Subway Series this weekend, but the three games at Citi Field were postponed after two positive tests for COVID-19 in the Mets' organization. The teams are scheduled to play three more games Aug. 28-30 at Yankee Stadium and should be able to make up some of the postponed games during that series.
"There's no question with some of the injuries, we had come off the tough series that having a day or two to kind of regroup a little is not necessarily the worst thing," said Boone, whose team will hold workouts at Yankee Stadium on Saturday and Sunday. "But anytime we're missing games, knowing we got to make those up, that comes home to roost a little bit later on."