The New York Yankees just got a boost: shortstop Didi Gregorius has been activated from the injured list. He’ll start tonight against the Indians in Cleveland.
Gregorius had been sidelined all season long, having undergone Tommy John surgery during the offseason following an elbow injury sustained in the 2018 postseason. Last year was his best season in the bigs: he hit .268/.335/.494 with 27 homers and 86 RBI.
The Yankees could’ve been in deep trouble without Gregorius — and without Troy Tulowitzki, who they initially had hoped would fill in the gap — but they have managed better than expected. Gleyber Torres has covered short and has had an excellent year at the plate. Taking over at second has, mostly, been D.J. LeMahieu, who has likewise been a strong offensive contributor. With Gregorius back there are now five infielders for four positions once you factor in Luke Voit at first base and Gio Urshela at third.
As for how that will shake out: expect a bit of shuffling around, with LeMahieu moving around, playing some second, first and third, while also slotting into the DH spot from time to time. When he’s in the field, figure that whoever he is spelling will be DHing. When Gregorius needs a rest, Torres can go back to short and LeMahieu can handle the keystone.
Not the worst problem to have.
Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.
It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.
While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.
If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.