TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner is pleased with the performance of his injury-decimated team.
"Considering the adversity we've faced in the first two months of the season, it's phenomenal the job these guys have done," Steinbrenner said Friday at a Yankees extended spring training game.
The Yankees have put 17 players on the injured list for 18 total stints. Still, they entered a three-game home series against AL East-leading Tampa Bay with a 26-16 record, a half-game behind the Rays.
Domingo Germán, inserted into the starting rotation after ace Luis Severino got hurt, leads the major leagues with eight wins. Clint Frazier, who began the season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, it hitting .280 with six homers and 18 RBIs in 27 games. Gio Urshela, an infield replacement bought up from the minors, is batting .330 with 15 RBIs in 33 games.
"Young guys are stepping up," Steinbrenner said. "They realize this is an opportunity that they might not otherwise have had and they're making the most of it."
Steinbrenner also praised second-year manager Aaron Boone.
"He's calm and cool," Steinbrenner said." He's kept it all together."
Players could be returning soon.
James Paxton (left knee inflammation) could soon rejoin the rotation and designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (left shoulder) is nearing a rehab assignment with Class A Tampa. Stanton took eight at-bats Friday in his latest simulated game. He was hit on his left knee in his seventh time up.
Shortstop Didi Gregorius is expected to play in extended spring training Monday, his first game since Tommy John surgery on Oct. 17.
"Things are starting to come together," Steinbrenner said. "We just need to make sure that when we bring somebody back we don't put somebody back on. That's been the trend, unfortunately."
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (strained left calf) has resumed playing catch and fielding grounders. Right fielder Aaron Judge (left oblique strain) and Severino (right rotator cuff inflammation) likely will remain sidelined for an extended period.
"I talked to Aaron when I was there Tuesday, and he's right on schedule," Steinbrenner said. "But we don't push this process. We want to see them the second half of the year, and more than just the second half of the year. So we're going to make sure we do it right, we do it carefully and we don't push the process."