Giancarlo Stanton Shut Down with Grade 1 Calf Strain, May Miss Opening Day (Updated)

Folks, you just cannot make this up. Another year, another day, another injury for the Yankees. This time, it’s Giancarlo Stanton, who apparently has a Grade 1 calf strain, according to Aaron Boone. The injury occurred yesterday after defensive drills and he got an MRI today that found the strain. The 30-year-old slugger, who can opt-out after this season, will most likely miss Opening Day due to this injury.

Just last week, in his season preview, Derek noted that health was a key factor for Stanton. He played in more than 300 games across 2017 and 2018, but appeared in only 18 games last season. Hopefully this is just a blip in the radar, but he is obviously starting 2020 off on the wrong foot. The 2019 season is the season that just isn’t going to go away, apparently. The new team is the same as the old team.

Once again, we’ll have more thoughts on this in a bit. Until then, I leave you with this: I hate it!

UPDATE (6:35 pm): *Deep breath.* Okay, so obviously this injury, as far as these things go, isn’t all that bad. It’s just a calf strain and it will only cost Stanton a few weeks of Grapefruit League playing time. It could be much worse, as we saw just yesterday. Still, there is some impact here. Let’s get right into that.

1. It Kinda Just Sucks for Stanton: Am I allowed to feel bad for Giancarlo? Because I really do. I mean, “Ellsbury” is currently trending on Twitter in New York, and it’s not because of any news related to everyone’s favorite pinstriped punching bag. Last year had to be an incredibly disappointing and frustrating for Giancarlo on a personal level. I mean, let’s go through his injuries since the start of the 2019 campaign:

  • April ’19: bicep strain
  • April ’19: “balky” left shoulder
  • May ’19: left calf strain
  • June ’19: PCL strain in right knee
  • October ’19: right quad strain

And now this. Health is a skill and it is not a skill that Giancarlo has demonstrated recently. Like I said above, he played in over 300 games in 2017 and 18 but has struggled with injuries since. It is very frustrating for us as fans and I don’t think we can process how frustrating it must be for a player. I was hoping – both for his sake and for the team’s – that he would be healthy all season and quiet his loud base of dissenters. Alas, it was not to be. (Yet, at least.)

He’ll likely miss some regular season time, though hopefully not too much. On the bright side, if there’s a “good” time to go down with an injury like this, it’s right now. He should only miss a few weeks of the season, at most.

2. Outfield Depth Chart: This will obviously impact the Yankees’ already-think outfield depth. Here’s how I think things shake out in terms of the depth chart:

  1. Aaron Judge
  2. Brett Gardner
  3. Mike Tauchman
  4. Clint Frazier

It’s important to remember that Miguel Andújar has also been taking reps in the outfield – he did so today! – so he will factor in here as well. In fact, it may make the most sense for him to rotate in left field and DH in the first few weeks of the season, as there will certainly be reps there for him now.

The injury to Stanton may even be enough to vault Clint Frazier out of the Triple-A quagmire in which he perpetually finds himself. It’s certainly possible. I thought before camp really got going that they’d take four outfielders out of camp with them to Baltimore, and I still do. That leaves room for Frazier, which is good for him. Regrettably, there is yet another Spring Training competition to follow now. I’m getting sick of the injuries already, everyone.

3. New Training Staff: Finally, I think this Stanton injury is the first real test for the new training apparatus. The Yanks brought on Eric Cressey after last year’s frustrating campaign to overhaul this sort of thing and this is the first time they’ll have a chance to do so. Both the Severino and Paxton injuries were preexisting and there wasn’t anything you could do. A muscle strain, though, is very different. Muscle strains where the bane of the Yankees’ existence last year, to the point that it felt like something in the organization was broken.

I’m curious to see how this goes. The injury list last year for Stanton in particular was a source of major frustration for fans and the team. Things kept metastasizing and getting worse in rehab, with one injury following another. It’s why fans are so overwhelmingly pessimistic about Stanton now. In a vacuum, this injury isn’t that big of a deal, but life doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It is only fair to be skeptical and worried at this point, especially given recent history.

Cressey was presumably brought on to stop all of that from happening again. He has a test case now and hopefully they can put this all to bed. I’m sick of it and I’m sick of the “[two weeks from now] Yankees announce Giancarlo’s leg has been amputated” jokes we see on Twitter. So let’s all hope that Giancarlo has a nice, easy and smooth rehab. And that Aaron Judge’s shoulder injury really is just a minor issue. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself. The trauma is real.)


Thoughts after the Luis Severino Injury


Mailbag: Miguel Andújar, Giancarlo Stanton, Jasson Dominguez, 15-Day IL, Streaming


  1. RetroRob

    We need a new script for 2020. I don’t want to see this movie again.

    Hopefully we can all look back on this with some humor when #28 is raised above the Stadium this Fall, remembering when Stanton had a calf strain before he went on to play in 140+ games. Hopefully.

    • chip56

      My feeling is that the injuries we’ve seen so far are still related to the mismanagement of injuries last year. Hopefully once these get out of the way, there won’t be new ones that creep up.

  2. I’ve been a HUGE proponent of a shift to “Andujars in the Outfield” since before he was even called up the first time because his magnificent throwing arm would be wasted at 1B and he wasn’t good enough defensively for 3B. This opens a door for an extended look at what that might accomplish, and may provide for, at the very least, a significant boost in his trade value. I’d rather they moved a package around Frazier for an SP, but if Andujar can cover YS LF and throw guys out w/ his fantastic arm, that may not need to be as much of a “package” anymore.

    I’m just trying to find a silver lining here folks, don’t hate me.

  3. JG (Melky Mesa)

    Time to get rid of the quack Ahmad

  4. Alex

    Cressey hasn’t even shown up at Spring Training yet apparently. Considering he’s supposedly running the team’s strength and conditioning program, seems like it would be a decent idea for him to get down there sometime.

  5. Alex

    Speaking of Cressey, the guy was supposed to be one of the big additions of the offseason and yet is nowhere to be seen around spring training. Not one Yankees beat reporter has mentioned him being around the team. So did we actually hire him to run strength and conditioning or is he just some outside consultant?

  6. dasit

    waiting for bobby to post his “thoughts before the gerrit cole injury”

  7. MikeD

    Perhaps we can get the injuries out of the way early?

    More seriously, minor injuries, pulled muscles, etc. normally wouldn’t be much concern in early Spring Training. It is here only because it’s a continuation of a problem Stanton had all of last year, including in the postseason. When he attempted to return, another injury! He played in the upper 150s game wise in 2017 and 2018. Need to somehow get back to that.

    Andjuar, Tauchman and Frazier can all handle the LF/DH spots if Stanton isn’t back early in April, which he might, but it’s the trend for Stanton going back to last year that’s concerning.

  8. Dani

    I guess the Yanks’ plan really is to break their own IL record from last season? Always good to get a head start, right? Fin unreal, season hasn’t even started and I’m already sick of it. Every day I get one step closer to throw my PC out the window 😛


    Bobby, Let’s hope these “Thoughts after (insert name here) injury” posts are not an everyday thing!

  10. DJ Lemeddardhieu

    Here they go again, Bobby. I told you Stanton wasn’t going to stay healthy. The guy got hurt standing in left field before a game even started. He’s not going to be able to do anything but DH this year if he even comes back from this calf strain. A speck of dirt could land on his head and he’d be paralyzed from the neck down. And unless MLB changes the rules and allows ghost runners he’ll just hurt himself on the bases so DH isn’t some magical injury haven for him.

    And for all we know Dr. Ahmad’s calf strain diagnosis is actually tuberculosis. He’s a damn quack who should have been locked up years ago. All we know is that Stanton is out for the season along with Sevy, Paxton and Judge and God knows who this monster will get next.

  11. dasit

    karmic payback for 96-01?

  12. NYYROC

    C’mon Cressey! You were supposed to prevent this stuff! 🙁

    • chip56

      Honestly, I think what you’re seeing is the results of injuries that were mishandled last year. Stanton, Judge, Severino, Paxton…these were all guys who say that their problems were there at the end of the season.

  13. chip56


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