ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – It’s going from bad to worse for the Yankees’ offense.
Andrew Benintendi was placed on the 10-day injured list Saturday with what manager Aaron Boone called a sprained right wrist, with no guarantee the outfielder will be able to return this season.
Benintendi left the game Friday night after injuring his wrist on a swing. X-rays were negative and further tests proved inconclusive on Saturday.
“We are not sure [the injury] is where we thought,” said Boone Saturday before the Yankees lost again to the Rays, 2-1, at Tropicana Field.
Asked if there was a chance Benintendi would return this year, Boone said: “There could be. We’re not sure what we have yet.”
Benintendi had an air cast on his wrist Saturday.
Before leaving the game Friday during his at-bat in the third, Benintendi was one of the few players hitting for the Yankees.
He got off to a slow start after arriving in a trade from Kansas City in July, but the 28-year-old has adjusted well to the Yankees’ lineup. He gave them another threat from the left side, in addition to being a contact hitter on a team that strikes out a lot.
He doubled in his first at-bat against the Rays on Friday, making him 14-for-41 (.342) with three doubles, two homers, six runs, seven RBIs and a .925 OPS in his previous 11 games.
Estevan Florial was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before the game Saturday, with Aaron Hicks taking Benintendi’s spot in left field, Aaron Judge moving back to center and rookie Oswaldo Cabrera playing right.
Adding to the Yankees’ woes is the fact that they were already playing without first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who received an epidural Thursday after visiting back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins in California.
Boone said Saturday that Rizzo was shut down for the weekend and expected to participate in baseball activities Monday (and possibly Tuesday) in the Bronx before the team decides whether to put him back in the lineup.
Rizzo missed games in both July and August with a similar injury to his lower back. He underwent an MRI exam recently, which Boone said left the Yankees encouraged.
But it is difficult to be optimistic about the 33-year-old’s status, given the consistent problems he has had with his back this season.
In addition, DJ LeMahieu is playing through a toe injury that robbed him of most of his offense, Giancarlo Stanton entered Saturday just 3-for-26 since returning from left Achilles tendinitis and Josh Donaldson, Gleyber Torres and Hicks are all in the middle of long lows.
At this point, Judge is just about the only player still hitting in the lineup, which on Saturday also included Cabrera and fellow rookie Oswald Peraza, who made his first start in the majors, filling in at shortstop for Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
“Hopefully he’s another guy that can give us a spark,” Boone said. “We saw that with Cabrera coming up.”
The Yankees entered Saturday having scored three or fewer runs in six of their previous seven games.
“We understand the position we’re in and we’ve got to do better, period,” Boone said. “The bottom line is, what we put out there is capable and we have to produce.”