Yankees' Maybin heading to IL with strained calf

ByColey Harvey ESPN logo
Saturday, June 22, 2019

NEW YORK -- Just when Cameron Maybin had been spared a roster spot amid the New York Yankees' latest roster crunch, the outfielder saw his playing time get snatched away anyway.

It wasn't Aaron Judge's return from the Yankees' injured list that did it, either. A victim of his own body, Maybin suffered a leg injury Friday night that manager Aaron Boone confirmed would land him on the IL, taking Judge's now former place.

"It'll be a while," Boone said of Maybin's potential return.

Boone had no idea exactly how the left calf strain occurred, but his guess was that it might have happened in the third inning of the Yankees' 4-1 win over the Houston Astros, as Maybin was scoring on catcher Gary Sanchez's two-run home run.

"I just know when he was running around third, he felt what he described as a pop or whatever," Boone said.

Maybin is the fifth Yankee to go on the IL this season with a calf strain. Sánchez, Troy Tulowitzki, Giancarlo Stanton and Kendrys Moraleshad similar injuries on the same leg. Only Sánchez and Stanton have returned from those injuries.

Cameras caught the 32-year-old Maybin clearly hobbled near home plate as Sanchez completed his 23rd home run trot of the season. While Sanchez moved in to celebrate the 481-foot blast, Maybin gave him a soft hug. It didn't have the same life and energy with which he normally bestows congratulatory hugs to his teammates.

As soon as the embrace ended, Maybin was visibly limping as he walked into the Yankees' dugout.

Maybin had an MRI. He had already left the ballpark once reporters were allowed into the clubhouse after the game, and so he was unable to address them.

Still, his teammates are pulling for the player many considered among the most key additions the team had during its recent stretch of poor injury luck. When Maybin was acquired from Cleveland's farm system in a late-April trade in which the Yankees reportedly swapped him for $25,000, they were without Judge and fellow outfielders Stanton and Clint Frazier.

"He's been huge for us," center fielder Aaron Hicks said. "He's a guy that's been getting clutch hits for us, and been playing good baseball. He's been playing great defense, and he's been really good for us."

In 42 games with the Yankees, Maybin is batting .314 with five home runs and 14 RBIs. He also has scored 27 runs.

Earlier this week, Maybin was at the heart of speculation about what the Yankees might do with their roster once Judge came off the IL from his left oblique strain. Because Maybin was largely viewed as a second outfielder on the three-man bench, there was a belief that he might be designated for assignment to make room for Judge.

The Yankees instead optioned reliever Nestor Cortes Jr. following Thursday's game, sparing Maybin's spot on the roster. It especially seemed like the right move considering Maybin had homered in four straight games at the start of this week.

How was he able to keep his focus amid the external chatter about his future in pinstripes?

"Like I've been saying, what can I do? Nothing I can do, nothing I can control but my preparation and my effort and how I play," Maybin said Thursday. "I really always focused on controlling what you can control, and that's my preparation, my effort, my energy, and everything else will happen how it should happen, and how it shakes out."

Hicks, who took Maybin's place in the lineup following the mid-game injury, expects to be back in the Yankees' batting order Saturday. Originally, Hicks was slated to be given the day off Friday as he nursed a sore shoulder that he said received a cortisone shot the day before.

According to Hicks and Boone, an MRI on the center fielder's right shoulder revealed simple inflammation.

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