Giancarlo Stanton’s much-needed return to the Yankees’ lineup is coming into focus.
After going through another pregame workout on Friday, Stanton was expected to begin a rehab assignment on Saturday with Double-A Somerset in Bowie, Md.
According to manager Aaron Boone, the plan was for Stanton to serve as the designated hitter on Saturday and Sunday, then return to The Bronx to face Luis Severino in a live batting practice session on Tuesday.
That would keep Stanton, who has been out since July 24 because of Achilles tendinitis, out of action for the Subway Series on Monday and Tuesday.
But if he continues to respond well to the increased workload, Stanton could be in play to rejoin the Yankees on Thursday, when they begin a 10-game road trip at Oakland.
When Stanton does return to the lineup, which has largely lacked a punch without him, he initially will be used strictly as a DH
“Then keep ramping him up in his pregame work and things like that to get to a point where he’d be an outfield option for us,” Boone said.
Aroldis Chapman walked back-to-back hitters on nine pitches for the second time in three games Friday night in the Yankees’ 4-0 loss to the Blue Jays.
Those ninth-inning walks loaded the bases with one out, though Ron Marinaccio cleaned up the mess by limiting the damage to just a sacrifice fly.
Chapman had appeared to be turning a corner before his last two outings.
“Chappy struggled tonight,” Boone said. “This was a rough one tonight. We gotta get after it with him to get him back in line to how he’s been.”
Severino will throw another bullpen session Saturday in advance of his live session on Tuesday, his first time facing hitters since hitting the injured list with a low-grade lat strain.
Though Severino is not eligible to be activated off the 60-day IL until Sept. 12, he is encouraged by how he has felt in his bullpen sessions and said he believes he could get big league hitters out right now.
“I don’t feel like I’m coming from any major injury,” he said. “My arm feels pretty good.”
Oswaldo Cabrera played his third different position in his third MLB game on Friday, starting in right field, a position he added to his repertoire earlier this year.
He played third base and shortstop in his first two games with the Yankees after being called up on Wednesday.
“I think one of his strengths as a player is just his maturity and his clock and way about him,” Boone said. “He’s turning himself into a really good player and I think he’s going to be a good player in this league for a long time.
“But the intangible things are really special with him.”
Clarke Schmidt helped the Yankees out of the bullpen earlier this year, but he is currently continuing to build up as the Yankees’ best starting pitching depth (which is thin) at Triple-A.
“Anytime that need comes up [in the bullpen], that’s always potentially in play,” Boone said. “But getting those starts and having that option there is important. But obviously we know he can impact us in the pen. So we’ll continue to talk through that, explore that, see what makes the most sense for us moving forward.”
Albert Abreu has struggled of late in the Yankees’ bullpen — with a 5.91 ERA over his last 10 ²/₃ innings — but he does not have any minor league options left.
“I think it comes down to his sinker command and throwing strikes early and building off of it,” pitching coach Matt Blake said.