The 2019 New York Yankees appeared to be in deep trouble mere days into the 2019 season. The Bronx Bombers have an injured list full of All-Stars and a roster most fantasy owners would not recognize but are just two games behind Tampa Bay for the division lead.
Every day it seems a notable Yankee has gone down. Didi Gregorius had offseason Tommy John surgery. Pitching ace Luis Severino, outfielder Aaron Hicks, and reliever Dellin Betances were injured in spring training. Sluggers Miguel Andujar (shoulder), Giancarlo Stanton(biceps, shoulder) and Aaron Judge (oblique) were hurt in the opening month. Even reserves like Clint Frazier(ankle) and Greg Bird (foot) have fallen victim to the injury bug. Yet New York is 16-11 thanks mostly to a patchwork lineup.
Unheralded 26-year-old starter Domingo German picked up the slack for Severino, going 4-1, with a 1.75 ERA. Relievers Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, and Zach Britton have stepped into the setup role left vacant by Betances.
Reserves D.J. Lemahieu, Brett Gardner, and Luke Voit have stepped up by taking on larger roles. So have no-names like Gio Urshella, Thario Estrada, and Mike Tauchman.
Urshella, known more as a defensive third-baseman, is hitting .327 and in the middle of the Yankees batting order. Estrada had 77 at-bats in AAA before being called up last week and is hitting .400 so far. Tauchman is a journeyman that had no home runs in two seasons with Colorado, yet has three in his brief stint with New York.
The Yankees are slowly getting their players back. Gary Sanchez returned last week, and Troy Tulowitzki could return in early May. If the Bombers go on to win the AL East, it will be because of these unheralded fill-ins.