TAMPA — Considering James Paxton arrived in spring training coming off back surgery, Aaron Judge hasn’t taken batting practice yet due to a barking right shoulder, Giancarlo Stanton suffered a strained right calf Tuesday and Luis Severino underwent Tommy John surgery Thursday, Hal Steinbrenner was asked if he believed the Yankees were snake bit by injuries.
“Stanton was disappointing, but if you asked me if it would happen now or September I would take now,” Steinbrenner told The Post in a Steinbrenner Field hallway before Thursday’s game against the Rays. “The good news is that it is not serious and he will be back.”
Stanton, who has a Grade 1 strain, was spotted Thursday walking with director of medical services Steve Donohue toward an exit in the morning and the duo were seen walking back toward the clubhouse early in the afternoon.
Wednesday, manager Aaron Boone said it will likely be a close call whether Stanton is ready for Opening Day on March 26 in Baltimore.
“It will probably put us up against it a little bit. I would say it is time for him to get back but then getting built up and stuff, we will see,” said Boone, who explained Stanton would be inactive for two weeks.
After being limited to 18 regular-season games and five in the postseason a year ago, there is a chance the 30-year-old outfielder/DH starts the season on the injured list.
That would potentially open a spot for Clint Frazier for a left-field platoon between him and left-handed hitting Mike Tauchman. The Yankees took a look at Miguel Andujar in left field on Wednesday and he will get other chances to see if he can handle the position.
As he did on Wednesday in a Newsday article, Steinbrenner explained the proper steps were taken in the process that led to Severino having a partial tear in the right elbow that necessitated Tommy John surgery.
“The reality was we did the MRI and of course everything was negative and MRIs are very thorough,” Steinbrenner said. “The problem, stiffness if you will, wasn’t where it normally is for Tommy John (surgery). That kind of threw us off. As far as getting surgery, that’s the last resort.”
Two MRI exams and a CT-Scan during the offseason didn’t unearth a partially torn UCL, but a dye contrast MRI administered early this week did and sent Severino on a path that will cost him this season and likely months of 2021 as well.
With Severino gone for the year and Paxton likely out until sometime in May, the Yankees are searching for two starters to begin the season with.
Out of a group of five in-house candidates, Jordan Montgomery is viewed as the leader. Also in the mix are Deivi Garcia, Michael King and Jonathan Loaisiga. Chad Bettis, who isn’t on the 40-man roster, is a candidate.
Loaisiga, Montgomery and Bettis, have the most major league experience, King pitched in one game a year ago and Garcia, 20, hasn’t worked in the big leagues yet.
Luis Cessa could also force his way into rotation spot but the Yankees’ preference is for the right-hander to work in relief. Chad Green could be used as an opener, a role he handled 15 times last season.