Yankees outfielder Andrew Benintendi broke the hook of his hamate bone and will require surgery, manager Aaron Boone tells Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Benintendi is already on the 10-day injured list, having been placed there yesterday.
The club has not yet provided an estimated timeline for Benintendi’s recovery process, but it’s bound to be significant regardless given the time of year. There are just over four weeks remaining in the regular season schedule, which doesn’t leave much time for the outfielder to go through the process of recovering from the procedure and getting back into game shape. Despite their recent slump, the Yankees are still in a strong position to both make the playoffs and get a bye past the first round, as they are five games up on the Rays and 10 1/2 clear of the Central-leading Guardians. That would give Benintendi more time to return, especially if the Yankees can win a playoff round or two, but it’s still unclear if that’s in the cards. Hoch relays word from Benintendi himself, who says he’s still going to speak with some specialists but believes he could return before the end of the regular season.
Acquired from the Royals just prior to the deadline, Benintendi has hit .302/.371/.397 on the year between the two teams. That offensive production is 22% better than the league average hitter this year, as evidenced by his 122 wRC+. That solid campaign was put on hold Friday night, when Benintendi left in obvious pain after hurting himself on a swing.
In the past couple of games without Benintendi, the Yanks have used an outfield of Aaron Judge, Oswaldo Cabrera and Aaron Hickswith other options like Estevan Floral, Marwin González and Tim Locastro on the bench. Harrison Bader and Matt Carpenter could join the club down the line, but neither are especially close. Bader, acquired from the Cardinals at the trade deadline, is ramping up towards a rehab assignment. Carpenter went on the IL a few weeks ago with a fractured foot and still hopes to return at some point. But in the short term, the in-house options will probably have to do.
The Yankees seemed to be walking away with the AL East for much of the year, leading by as much as 15 1/2 games in July. A poor showing in recent weeks dropped their lead as low as four games coming into today, though they defeated the Rays to stretch it back out to five. That means the final weeks of the season are going to be much more important than it may have seemed not too long ago.