NEW YORK -- Giancarlo Stanton has returned to the Yankees lineup with New York on the cusp of clinching a division title.
Stanton will bat fifth and play left field Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Angels. He has been out since June 25 after straining the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He's played just nine games this season due to biceps, shoulder, calf and knee injuries and is returning with 12 days remaining in the regular season.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Stanton would probably get two at-bats and play four or five innings in the field Wednesday. If all goes well, he could be the designated hitter for a full game Thursday.
Boone plans to play Stanton regularly down the stretch to progress his timing and durability as October approaches.
"Just building him up," Boone said.
New York can lock up the AL East championship by beating the Angels or with a loss by Tampa Bay.
Stanton, the 2017 NL MVP with Miami, is hitting .290 with one home run and seven RBIs. The 29-year-old slugger, in his second season with the Yankees, had been working out at the team's minor league complex in Tampa, Florida.
Stanton will be used at DH and in left field. New York has rotated a number of players through the latter position, especially since Mike Tauchman strained his left calf this month. Tauchman is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
With Stanton activated from the 60-day injured list, reliever Dellin Betances was added to the 60-day IL three days after his season debut. Betances partially tore the Achilles tendon in his left foot when he hopped on the mound Sunday at Toronto. Surgery has not been recommended but is still possible. Betances will get a second opinion.
The right-handed Betances had previously been out with an impingement in his pitching shoulder.
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