Another New York Yankees’ bat had a scare this weekend as Neil Walker came down with neck discomfort and an illness.
Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and recently … Neil Walker.
The currently-injured Yankees are trying to prevent another walking-wounded list as they had just a week ago when J.A. Happ was diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease.
Neil Walker was unavailable on Friday night’s game against the Texas Rangers due to neck tightness and a sickness. It was a head-scratching scenario after watching Walker smack two home runs the night before from each side of the plate.
Boone after the game spoke with reporters via NJ.com’s Brandon Kuty, and iterated Neil was indeed dealing with a couple of small injuries,
“He just came up with a tweak of the neck and wasn’t feeling good before the game,” Boone said. “So he was kind of an emergency situation only.”
Walker clearly would have been playing Friday if it weren’t for the injury bug that took over his body. While he is still hitting a lowly .227, Walker has become a valuable weapon with the way he’s picked up the average itself over the past month. From July 1 to Aug. 12, Walker has hit a whopping .303 with a .366 OBP. During that stretch, he’s hit four homers and drove in 16 runs.
On Saturday afternoon, Walker returned to the lineup and went 1-for-4 and on Sunday went 1-for-4 as well.
The one difference with Walker, however, has been his ability to be used as a swiss army knife all over the field. This season Boone has deployed Walker at four different positions; including third base, second base, first, and recently right field. The more positions he’s been able to thrive at, the easier it is for Aaron Boone to fill out his lineup card.
The versatility he has provided gives him good reason to have a chance to be in the lineup each day; and when he has over the last month and a half, he’s produced.
Maybe the trick all along was to let him play right field … then again, Judge who?
After suffering through two major slumps this year Neil Walker has come back twice to rescue his roster spot and show his value as a switch-hitter able to play multiple positions. Yankees believed as a veteran he could recover and he has, twice.
— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) August 10, 2018
Walker’s recent play has made him a crucial everyday piece to this team. A professional bat like his in the lineup, when he’s right, can be an X-factor on a team that is so right-handed power heavy.
Nevertheless, Neil Walker’s number one priority is to stay healthy. It’s been an issue he and the entire Yankees’ team has had this season.
As of now, it will be the only way to keep his bat out of the lineup.