Yankees injuries: Outfielder Tim Locastro to IL with back injury

After three days with a lot of rain, we’ll finally have Yankees baseball again this afternoon, as New York and Texas are scheduled to play a single-admission doubleheader. However, the Yankees’ roster won’t be exactly the same as they left it in Toronto on Wednesday. Fourth outfielder Tim Locastro has hit the 10-day IL with a latissimus dorsi strain, which is a mid-to-lower back injury.

It’s unfortunate because the Yankees really took advantage of having a guy like Locastro around, particularly during their 11-game winning streak. He was a good defensive replacement, a blazing fast pinch-runner (he entered late for Giancarlo Stanton on multiple occasions), and he even acquitted himself well with the bat in limited action with a 139 wRC + in 15 plate appearances, including a homer. Back injuries are no joke though, and at least personally, I can not help but wonder if his very aggressive style of outfield defense – one that seems to involve more dives than most players – could have played a role. There’s no way of knowing for sure, though.

To take Locastro’s spot, the Yankees promoted reliever Ron Marinaccio, who was with the team for most of April during the initial expanded 28-man roster stretch. Because the Yankees have managed their pitching staff so well, the rookie only made it into four games, and while he was good in his first two career appearances, the near-two weeks off might have caused some rust, and he was smacked around on April 24th and April 28th. Still, Marinaccio flashed potential, and the Yankees might well need him in May.

Scranton outfielder Estevan Florial will also be with the Yankees today as the 27th man, allowed by MLB rosters for doubleheader days. Fans familiar with the last two years of Yankees teams will remember his cups of coffee with those clubs, and while he’s hit at the MLB level in limited time, it hasn’t fully translated to extended success at the Triple-A level (though this year, he’s been OK with a 115 wRC + in 22 games).

The reason why the Yankees set the roster up like this instead of directly swapping an outfielder for an outfielder is due to the impact of the back-to-back rainouts. Because of the weather, the Yankees are at the beginning of a span of 23 games in 22 days, with no off-days to bail them out. The pitching is accomplished, but will absolutely get taxed. An extra reliever might well come in handy, even at the expense of a short bench, and I’d wager there’s a good chance that Marinaccio isn’t even the only pitcher who comes up from Triple-A to lend a hand this month, either. Look for Clarke Schmidt or JP Sears to make return appearances as well, with a sixth starter appearance also in the offing.

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