Two Key Pieces Nearing Return To The New York Yankees
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 26: Starlin Castro #14 of the New York Yankees (R) is assessed for an apparent leg injury by manager Joe Girardi #28 (L), first base coach Tony Pena #56 (C) and medical staff and is taken out of the game after grounding out against the Chicago White Sox to end the third inning at Guaranteed Rate Field on June 26, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

As the New York Yankees fall in the AL East race, two injured names could be on the way to help them dethrone Boston.

New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird (ankle surgery) and second baseman Starlin Castro (hamstring) will begin rehab assignments this week, as their quest to return to the slumping Bombers continue.

Bird, who was expected to be an integral part of the Yankees’ lineup in 2017, was attempting to play through his ankle injury and ended up slashing .100/.250/.200 in 60 at-bats. He will play his first rehab game on Wednesday in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

He missed the entire 2016 season from shoulder surgery but still showed shines of his 2015 form when he smacked 11 home runs and 31 RBI’s in 178 plate appearances filling in for Mark Teixeira.

Castro was named to the American League All-Star team after hitting 12 home runs and slashing .307/.344/.472. The 27-year-old was placed on the 10-day disabled list back on July 22 due to a right hamstring injury — after being activated from the DL for the same injury on July 15. His first rehab game will come on Friday.

Both will be huge returns for the Yankees’ offense, which owns the 10th-worst offensive WAR in the Majors since the All-Star break.

Other Notes:

Happy Holliday:

  • Yankees’ DH Matt Holliday (left lumbar strain) took batting practice on Sunday prior to the matchup with the Boston Red Sox. The 37-year-old was enjoying a nice season in the Bronx until he hit the shelf due to the Epstein-Barr virus. When he returned from that, Holliday went just 11-for-81 (.136) with a home run and two doubles before landing back on the DL.

Another Luis Joins The Rotation:

  • CC Sabathia was placed on the DL thanks to a knee problem and Masahiro Tanaka shortly following with shoulder fatigue. Jordan Montgomery filled in for the former and Luis Cessa will step in for the latter and face the New York Mets on Monday night at Yankee Stadium. He has posted a 4.83 ERA over nine outings (four starts) and is 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in his four starts with the Yankees this season but has pitched relatively well as a starter in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (4-6, 3.45 ERA in 13 starts). It’s not known whether or not he is the long-term solution until Tanaka returns to action. Other candidates included Bryan Mitchell or Caleb Smith.