Earlier this morning, the Yankees confirmed the seemingly inevitable. Matt Holliday landed on the disabled list with what’s being described as a left lumbar strain. Joe Girardi suggested that Holliday was dealing with back discomfort prior to yesterday’s game. Now he’s officially on the shelf.
Holliday, 37, has struggled immensely since returning from an earlier trip to the disabled list. He’s hit .135/.165/.198 with just one home run since July 14th. That works out to a - 12 wRC+. He just couldn’t make hard contact. It seems like the only ball he hit with authority in the second half was the game-tying home run against Craig Kimbrel. That was fun, but otherwise Holliday’s been a black hole in the lineup.
In the corresponding move, the Yankees recalled first baseman Garrett Cooper from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Cooper hit a meager .240/.269/.440 (82 wRC+) over 26 big league plate appearances. While this move seems rather uninspiring, it’s likely that it’s just a placeholder. Aaron Hicks expects to play a full nine innings today for the RailRiders, and that could be the end of his rehab stint. It’s possible Hicks joins the team in Toronto on Tuesday.
While it’s never good to lose a player to injury, the Yankees needed to remove Holliday from the lineup. He was actively hurting the team in what’s become a heated playoff push. Sliding Holliday to the disabled list allows the Yankees to add a more potent bat to the lineup. It could also make it possible for the Bombers to hang on to Clint Frazier when Hicks does return. These things have a way of working themselves out.
Ultimately, the Yankees are a better team today than they were yesterday. Holliday played a critical role in setting up this season’s success, and that can’t be understated. His play of late, though, has seriously hampered the lineup. Removing him from the equation solves one problem with another. Get well soon, Holliday. Heres’ to you returning healthy and swatting a huge home run in an important September game.