AL East Notes: G. Sanchez, Andujar, Shoemaker, Wendle, Schoop

Injuries to cornerstone players have defined the season for the Yankees, who are likely to see right fielder Aaron Judge hit the IL next. But there is better news regarding banged-up catcher Gary Sanchez and third baseman Miguel Andujar, who, like Judge, are among New York’s offensive linchpins. Sanchez, on the IL with a left calf strain since April 11, will play a minor league rehab game Monday and should then return to the Yankees’ lineup Wednesday, per David Lennon of Newsday. Meanwhile, the Yankees “continue to be optimistic” that Andujar will come back this season, according to manager Aaron Boone (via Lennon). Andujar hasn’t played since March 31 because of a labrum tear in his right (throwing) shoulder, an issue the team has feared could require season-ending surgery. However, the majority of recent Andujar updates have been positive, and that’s all the more heartening for the Yankees given their injury-ravaged state.

Here’s more from the American League East…

  • Blue Jays right-hander Matt Shoemaker suffered a left knee sprain Saturday and will undergo an MRI on Sunday, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports. A stint on the injured list looks like a legitimate possibility for Shoemaker, who was frequently on the IL during his Angels tenure. The first-year Blue Jay, whom they signed for $3.5MM in free agency, looked like a quality bargain pickup for the club prior to his latest injury. Shoemaker threw three scoreless innings against Oakland before departing Saturday, leaving him with a 1.57 ERA/3.80 FIP, 7.53 K/9, 2.83 BB/9 and a 51.4 percent groundball rate in 28 2/3 frames this year.
  • Rays second baseman Joey Wendle is nearing activation from the IL, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. A left hamstring strain has kept Wendle out since March 31 and given the keystone to Brandon Lowe, who’s enjoying an outstanding season thus far. Wendle was effective in his own right in 2018, when he batted .300/.354/.435 (116 wRC+) with 3.7 fWAR in 545 PA.
  • Second baseman Jonathan Schoop has spent nearly his entire career as a member of the Orioles, though they cut ties with him last July when they traded him to the Brewers. Schoop then became a Twin in free agency this past offseason, but he tells Steve Melewski of that he was open to a reunion with Baltimore. “Honestly, there were a lot of teams that were talking to me,” Schoop said of his trip to the open market. “I was thinking about it if I had the chance to come back. This was the team that gave me a chance. So I was thinking about it. But they never reached out. So I go forward and the Minnesota Twins was the one coming out more. So right away I signed with them.” On the heels of a down 2018, Schoop joined the Twins on a one-year, $7.5MM deal in December. Even though we’re just a few weeks into the season, Schoop has bounced back to a degree in the early going, having hit .241/.317/.407 (97 wRC+) in 60 plate appearances.

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