MILWAUKEE — It was a good afternoon for the Yankees, even before the first pitch against the Brewers. Scott Effross threw a live batting practice, including facing Anthony Rizzo. Both came through it ready to take their next steps.
“Everything’s feeling really good,” Effross said after throwing at American Family Field before Friday’s opener of the three-game series. “So pretty happy with the way the ball is coming out and just kind of meeting the next milestone as far as coming back. Hopefully, [I’ll] respond well to it tomorrow and kind of go from there.”
Effross, who has been on the injured list since Aug. 22 with a right shoulder strain, is scheduled to make a rehab appearance on Sunday. Rizzo, who has been out since Sept. 3 with a back issue and headaches, could be even sooner.
“Rizzo’s good,” manager Aaron Boone said. . “Heavy workday today obviously getting some at-bats off Effross. He’s gonna come and hit early tomorrow again, have a lighter day, but still get after a little bit and there’s a chance he would be in play on Sunday.”
Rizzo has had the nagging back issue since early July, when he missed four games because of it. He was shut down for five games again at the beginning of August and then tried to play through it. He hit .212/.297/.394 with three homers over the 19 games before he had to be shut down again. Rizzo saw renown orthopedic specialist Dr. Robert Watkins in California at the end of August and had an epidural, which caused headaches and required him to go on the IL.
“I think what I’m excited about is how good he feels,” Boone said. “He feels like he’s been grinding with that back I think before he went on the IL for the better part of three, four weeks. This seems to, in his mind, to have done the trick. So I think that he’s feeling so good is really encouraging. Hopefully, that allows him to impact us even more.”
Overall this season, Rizzo has hit 30 homers and driven in 71 RBI.
Harrison Bader, the center fielder the Yankees acquired in the deadline deal that sent Jordan Montgomery to the Cardinals, may make his Bronx debut as soon as Tuesday.
“He’ll play the outfield tomorrow and Sunday [in a minor league rehab game] and we’ll make a decision there,” Boone said. “Either another [minor league] game Tuesday or a good chance to just be with us Tuesday.”
Bader had been out with plantar fasciitis since June when the Yankees made the trade, but they were so eager for his defense they pulled the trigger.
“We’re getting a premium, one of the best defensive center fielders in the league,” Boone said. “So that’s what we’re looking forward to getting a significant player to our lineup.”
SEVERINO BACK IN THE BRONX
Luis Severino, who has been on the IL since mid-July, will slot back into the rotation Wednesday against the Pirates at Yankee Stadium.
“He was an excellent year for us in his first full year back and I’m really excited to get him back,” Boone said. “He can match up with a lot of other really good pitchers in the league. So to get back at this time is hopefully going to be something that’s big for us.”
CARPENTER RUNNING OUT OF TIME?
After he fractured his foot, Matt Carpenter had been adamant that he would return this season, but he might not be able to get back for the regular season. The slugger is still not able to do baseball activities.
“I am not sure,” Boone said when asked if he can still get back. “I think it kind of depends on when they X-Ray next and then what that allows him to do from a ramp up standpoint.
“I mean, his last X-Ray was whatever, a week ago or so 10 days. I don’t know how long it’s been. But he showed improvement but not to the point where it needs to be.”
Andrew Benintendi, who had surgery to repair a broken bone in his wrist, is also racing the clock.
“Benny’s just on day 10 now, so he’s doing well,” Boone said. “But he’s still in the early stages. He was just moving around the weight room and things like that, but kind of start to have a better idea probably in the next 10 days on him.”
CHAPMAN EARNING HIS WAY BACK
Aroldis Chapman, who had been on the IL since late last month with an infection in his leg after getting a tattoo, was activated before the game. The closer has struggled this season and will have to work his way back into high-leverage situations.
“Hopefully he comes in and throws the ball well,” Boone said. “I thought he looked really good in his rehab outing the other day. So he’s got to earn certain spots there. And try to get him in there. But hopefully he can be successful and throw the ball like he’s capable of this, because physically it’s there.”