Alex Verdugo fills in for Soto, hits second in Yankees batting order

In the first game against the Dodgers on June 7, 2024, manager Aaron Boone opted not to feature Juan Soto in the Yankee lineup, instead placing Alex Verdugo in the second spot in the batting order.

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For the second consecutive day, Alex Verdugo steps in for Juan Soto in the Yankees’ batting order. Notably, this is the first time the Mexican star is batting second, doing so in one of the most anticipated matchups against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Injury sidelines Soto, Alex Verdugo slotted second in Yankees batting order

Players of the new york yankees: Alex Verdugo and Juan Soto.
SL.com

Last Thursday, Alex Verdugo replaced Soto mid-game after Soto suffered an injury during the Yankees‘ win against the Minnesota Twins. Soto left the game with left forearm discomfort, an issue that had been bothering him for about a week, according to Yankees manager Aaron Boone. Soto is set to undergo imaging on his arm to determine the extent of the injury.

On Friday, Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that Soto’s injury is inflammation, which is relatively good news for both Soto and the Yankees. Inflammation is far less severe than a tear, which would have required a longer recovery period.

In game 1 against the Dodgers on June 7, 2024, manager Aaron Boone did not include Juan Soto in the Yankee lineup; Alex Verdugo took the second spot in the batting order.
Yankees

During Thursday’s game, which included a one-hour rain delay, Soto was replaced in the lineup by Verdugo, who took over left field while Aaron Judge moved to right field. Boone explained, “It hasn’t really affected him with baseball stuff — throwing or swinging or anything. Once we shut down and the rain delay, that soreness was there. We didn’t feel like it was the right thing to go back out there.”

Soto, 25, has been one of baseball’s most productive hitters this season, with a batting line of .318/.424/.603. Before exiting Thursday’s game, he went 0 for 1 with two walks. Soto and Judge have been an exceptionally valuable duo, and losing Soto for any period would be a significant blow to the Yankees.

Soto has been a durable player throughout his career, averaging 155 games per season over the last three full seasons. He has played in all 63 of the Yankees’ games this year and hasn’t been on the injured list since April 2021. Soto, who was acquired in a seven-player trade with the Padres last offseason, is slated for free agency at the end of this season.

Looking ahead

Despite Soto’s injury, the Yankees hold the best record in MLB at 45-19 and lead the American League East. The Bronx Bombers are set to host the Dodgers for a three-game series this weekend.

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