Due to their wild-card bye, the New York Yankees’ American League Division Series won’t start until Tuesday, October 11. So consider it excellent news that manager Aaron Boone expressed confidence enough to predict that infielder Matt Carpenter will be on the New York team for the playoffs starting next week during a radio interview on Thursday.
On the Michael Kay Show on 98.7FM, Boone stated, “I anticipate him to be on the roster.”
After breaking his foot on August 8, Carpenter, 36, has not played in a major league game since. Prior to that, he had become one of the season’s most welcome shocks. Carpenter hit.305/.412/.727 (217 OPS+) with 15 home runs and 37 runs batted in during the course of 47 games with the Yankees. According to Baseball Reference’s estimations, his contributions were valued at 2.4 Wins Above Replacement.
The most important thing, according to Boone earlier this week, is for him to enter the room and witness live pitching. “We’ll be keeping a watch on him over the weekend and into the following week after he’s gotten about five at-bats every day recently. He seems to be in a decent physical condition, and I am optimistic.”
Carpenter’s return should provide the Yankees an additional offensive dimension, even if he is just permitted to pinch-hit. Only Anthony Rizzo and the switch-hitters Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Marwin Gonzalez remained on the Yankees’ roster at the end of the season. Only Rizzo (131 OPS+) and Cabrera (109 OPS+) were offensively useful players out of the four.
With the start of the postseason, Carpenter is just one of a select group of Yankees who might be returning to the field. The ALDS roster also appears likely to include relievers Clay Holmes (shoulder strain) and Wandy Peralta (thoracic spine discomfort).
After this weekend’s best-of-three Wild Card Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cleveland Guardians, the Yankees will find out who they’ll be facing in that series.