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The Yankees Outfield is an Injury Hot Spot

It wasn’t long ago when the best descriptor, following ‘powerful’, for the Yankees’ outfield was ‘overcrowded’. With the find of Giancarlo Stanton at the Marlins' garage sale, the Yankee Stadium grass turned yellow at the long list of outfielders who might be trouncing upon it.

Stanton, Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Clint Frazier all sat in the Yankees arsenal at the start of spring. Then the list shortened. Ahead of Opening Day, the injury bug eliminated Ellsbury (oblique strain) and Frazier (concussion complications). Only two days of the season were needed for the bug to catch back up to its old pal Hicks (strained intercostal muscle). Billy McKinney’s call-up directed him right into the contagion and went down Saturday (shoulder sprain) after a wall collision, and the story leaves us there.

Injury was kind to the Yankees and rookie manager Aaron Boone by ignoring the two rocks of the outfield, Judge and Stanton (who possibly are built out of actual stone), leaving Boone to play with puzzle pieces to fill the third position. Gardner has served as one of those pieces. Boone is understandably worried about keeping the grizzled veteran in centerfield for a multi-game period, and Judge played his first game in center as a result. But Gardner was included in the home run spike of 2017, hitting the 20 homer mark for the first time and reaching his highest WAR since 2011. Building on that and his 17 DRS in left field in 2017 would make him a more workable puzzle piece. 

Still, the injuries haven’t touched the Yankees’ expected dominance. There’s still an emphatic super in front of super-team. But the snow that postponed the Yankees' Monday home opener still feels like the only thing staving off more injuries.  

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