Yankees, with missing pieces back in lineup, seek third straight win vs. Royals

Wed Jun 12 8:26am ET
Field Level Media

As they faced host Kansas City Royals Tuesday, the New York Yankees' lineup regained a semblance of normalcy with Aaron Judge returning and Juan Soto being back in right field.

After a scheduled day off, Judge homered with three RBIs in Tuesday's 10-1 win as the Yankees have taken the first two games of the four-game series. He is batting .401 with 21 homers and 49 RBIs in his past 41 games.

Soto missed the weekend series with the Los Angeles Dodgers after suffering left forearm inflammation last week in a game against the Minnesota Twins. As the designated hitter Monday, he singled and scored the first run of the Yankees' 4-2 win.

Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo also returned to New York's lineup.

Hitless in 17 straight at-bats, Stanton crushed a 446-foot homer among his two hits Tuesday.

Starting at first base, batting sixth, Rizzo grounded into a double play while going 0-for-5. He is 1-for-34 in June.

"It's a grind right now," Rizzo said. "This is what makes you appreciate the sunny days in this game. Just need one of these balls to find some dirt."

"His last two, three weeks, it's been a struggle," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "He's feeling it a bit."

Since a 4-for-4 outing April 28, Rizzo has hit .174 with 10 RBIs in 36 games.

Boone benched Rizzo for Sunday's finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Monday's opener in Kansas City.

"It's been on my mind a little bit," said Boone, who hoped to let Rizzo work through his struggles. "I feel like the work he's been getting in has been good. It's about trusting that work, making sure he's letting that process happen."

"He's close," Judge said. "He's been in the cage every single day, early, late. He's trying to put his work in. The results are coming."

Rizzo is in the second year of a $40 million contract that includes a $6 million buyout clause for next year.

Yankees right-hander Cody Poteet (2-0, 1.72 ERA) will take the mound Wednesday while the Royals expect to use right-hander Dan Altavilla as an opener.

It will be Poteet's first outing against Kansas City and fourth start of the season. He shut out the Dodgers for 4 2/3 innings on Friday, allowing two hits and three walks with one strikeout. He didn't figure in the 2-1, extra-inning loss.

While the Yankees added to their lineup, the Royals lost right-fielder Hunter Renfroe, who suffered a fractured left big toe in Monday's game, and Adam Frazier, who was placed on the bereavement list.

During a 12-pitch strikeout against Carlos Rodon on Monday, Renfroe fouled off seven pitches, two striking his toe.

"He got it twice in a row," Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. "He went down in the cage and tried to move around a little bit."

Renfroe returned to right field but couldn't continue after the fourth inning.

"When he came back in, they got to take his shoe off and check it out, and he said he couldn't keep going," Quatraro said.

After struggling to a .140 average in 41 games through May 11, Renfroe has batted .302 with 10 extra-base hits in 20 games since.

Kansas City placed Renfroe on the 10-day injured list, recalling Drew Waters and Nick Pratto from Triple-A Omaha.

Waters hit .277 with seven homers in 50 games for Omaha. Starting in right field Tuesday, batting seventh, he struck out twice in four hitless at-bats in his 2024 big league debut.

Altavilla (0-0, 0.00) threw a perfect inning against the Yankees on Monday in his first major league appearance since 2021. Battling injuries the past two seasons, he appeared in eight minor league games in 2023.

He has faced the Yankees just one other time, giving up two runs in three innings on Aug. 27, 2017, while a member of the Seattle Mariners.

-- Field Level Media

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Wed Jun 12 8:10pm ET