NEW YORK -- Injuries keep piling up for the New York Yankees at just the wrong time.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo is headed to the 10-day injured list, the latest health-related setback for a banged-up team trying to hang onto first place in the AL East.
Rizzo is hampered by headaches the Yankees think are related to an epidural injection he received to alleviate lower back pain. He was expected to resume baseball activities Monday, then Wednesday, before the club decided Tuesday to place him on the IL. The roster move will be made Wednesday.
“I don't think it's anything back-related now,” manager Aaron Boone said after Tuesday night's scheduled game against Minnesota was postponed because of rain.
“I think they’re trying to get their heads around just why exactly it’s happening," he added. "Once he gets up and moving, he can’t do much.”
Ronald Guzmán will be called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to help fill in at first base for Rizzo, who is batting .225 with 30 home runs, 71 RBIs and an .832 OPS.
The 27-year-old Guzmán is a .227 career hitter with 31 homers in 243 major league games with Texas from 2018-21. He smashed three home runs in a game at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 10, 2018.
The left-handed-hitting Guzmán was batting .260 at Triple-A with 12 homers, 39 RBIs and an .823 OPS.
“He made a huge impression on me in spring training. I really liked what I saw," Boone said. “And then the reports have been that really for about a month and a half now he's been swinging the bat really well. He's hurt us over the years in small bursts.”
Rizzo is far from the only important player ailing for the Yankees, who began the day five games in front of Tampa Bay and 5 1/2 ahead of Toronto after leading the AL East by 15 1/2 games on July 8.
Boone said slugger Giancarlo Stanton (left foot) and infielder DJ LeMahieu (toe) were not going to play Tuesday if the game hadn't been rained out.
Stanton fouled a ball off his foot in Monday's 5-2 win over the Twins and later left the game. He was feeling better Tuesday, according to Boone, but the manager said neither Stanton nor LeMahieu is sure to play Wednesday.
Left fielder Andrew Benintendi had surgery Tuesday to repair a broken bone in his right wrist. Benintendi was injured on a swing Friday night, but the Yankees have said it's possible he could play again this year.
“For three, four months we were largely quite healthy. We've taken our lumps in the injury department here lately with obviously some key guys, but that's part of it. And opportunity knocks for other guys to have a chance to step up and impact us while we're trying to get guys right and well," Boone said.
"I think there's also some hopeful signs on the horizon that we are going to get a number of these key guys back in the mix, whether it's in days, weeks or hopefully by the end of the year.”
Right-hander Luis Severino, out since mid-July with a strained lat, is scheduled to make a rehab start Wednesday for Double-A Somerset. He's expected to throw about 50-55 pitches and then either rejoin the Yankees or have one more minor league tune-up before returning.
Severino is on the 60-day injured list and can’t be reinstated until Monday.
“I definitely feel like he can impact right away,” Boone said. “We'll see. We'll make that call.”
Tuesday's game will be made up Wednesday as part of a single-admission doubleheader beginning at 3:05 p.m. Yankees ace Gerrit Cole (10-7, 3.28 ERA) was pushed back a day to Wednesday's nightcap. Domingo Germán (2-3, 3.12) will pitch the opener for New York.
Cole gave up a career-high five homers in 2 1/3 innings June 9 at Minnesota.
The Twins plan to call up local kid Louie Varland to start the opener in his major league debut. The 24-year-old right-hander was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he went to Concordia University before getting picked by his hometown team in the 15th round of the 2019 amateur draft.
Varland is 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings over four starts for Triple-A St. Paul. He went 7-4 with a 3.34 ERA in 19 starts and one relief outing for Double-A Wichita this season.
Right-hander Joe Ryan (10-7, 3.88 ERA), who had been slated to start Tuesday, goes in the second game.
Minnesota entered the day a game behind first-place Cleveland in the AL Central. The Guardians played later in Kansas City.
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