Despite the litany of injuries they’ve dealt with this season, the Yankees earned their 100th victory of the season and clinched the American League East on Thursday. Now, with the playoffs looming, they’ve got a couple of injured sluggers on the way back. Designated hitter/first baseman Edwin Encarnacion should rejoin the team on a season-ending road trip that runs from Sept. 24-29, per manager Aaron Boone, while catcher Gary Sanchez could be ready for the Yankees’ Division Series matchup (via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com).
Encarnacion hasn’t played since he suffered an oblique strain on Sept. 12. Those injuries often require players to sit for several weeks (as was the case with Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge earlier this season, for instance), but it appears Encarnacion will come back from his in relatively short order. One of the game’s most prolific sluggers in recent memory, Encarnacion has slashed a respectable .249/.325/.531 with 13 home runs in 197 plate appearances since the Yankees acquired him from the Mariners back in mid-June. He has, however, battled multiple injuries since he first donned the pinstripes, including a right wrist fracture that shelved him from Aug. 4-Sept. 3. The Yankees have rotated Luke Voit, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres and Giancarlo Stanton at DH during Encarnacion’s current absence.
Like Encarnacion, injuries have hampered Sanchez on more than occasion this season. He hasn’t played since Sept. 12 because of a left groin strain – the same issue that shelved him for two weeks earlier in the summer. The powerful Sanchez has enjoyed a productive season when healthy, as his .233/.318/.531 line with 34 home runs in 440 PA shows, and is far and away the most talented offensive catcher the Yankees have. Backup Austin Romine has held his own with the bat this month, but the Yankees would obviously prefer to have Sanchez back in the fold come playoff time.