The deadline for playoff teams to submit their 25-man Divisional Series rosters is at 9 AM ET on Friday.
Expect the New York Yankees to wait as close to that deadline as possible.
As the theme has been all season, injuries continue to play a prevalent role in manager Aaron Boone’s decision-making.
With their ALDS against the Minnesota Twins kicking off on Friday night, the Yankees are waiting for word on some major names that were been hampered by the injury bug during the last few weeks of the regular season.
Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion is dealing with a left oblique strain that has held him out since Sept. 12.
The 36-year-old will be tested throughout the week to determine if he’ll be ready for the ALDS, partaking in simulated games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
If he’s unable to go, his roster spot will be up for grabs between Luke Voit and Mike Ford.
Voit struggled mightily throughout the dog days of summer, slashing a measly .202/.330/.337 with two home runs and eight RBI in 27 games.
It opened the door for Ford to make a claim for a postseason roster spot as the 27-year-old lefty slashed .338/.398/.738 with nine home runs and 20 RBI over his final 30 games of the 2019 season.
Ford was a member of the Yankees’ unlikely supporting cast that starred this year, which was headlined by DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela — the latter suffering a mild ankle sprain during the season finale on Sunday against the Texas Rangers.
He’s expected to be good to go for Game 1.
Urshela is one of Major League Baseball’s feel-good stories of the year, coming from nowhere as a 27-year-old to put up a huge season in the Bronx. He slashed .314/.355/.534 with 21 home runs in 132 games, allowing Yankees fans to quickly forget about Miguel Andujar’s early, season-ending shoulder injury.
Finally, the good news is also expected to be heard for starting pitcher James Paxton, who was pulled early from his start on Friday night in Texas for precautionary measures.
An MRI revealed that he suffered nerve irritation in his left glute, but it won’t affect his status for the playoffs.
Paxton surged down the stretch in 2019, becoming the Yankees’ clear candidate to start Game 1 of the ALDS.
A difficult start to life as a Yankee saw Paxton go 5-6 with a 4.72 ERA in his first 18 starts with the club after being acquired from the Seattle Mariners.
But the southpaw rediscovered his devastating curveball and turned it on down the stretch, going 11-0 with a 2.51 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 61 innings of work.