Sports

Anthony Rizzo scratched against Cardinals with lower back tightness

Anthony Rizzo was scratched before the Yankees’ game Friday night in St. Louis with lower back tightness.

He was in the initial starting lineup against the Cardinals.

It’s the second time in a month the first baseman has dealt with the issue. He was knocked out of the lineup last month in Pittsburgh and ended up missing four games with what he said was a back spasm issue he has dealt with nearly every year of his career.

Manager Aaron Boone said Rizzo told him he didn’t think it was as bad as the last time.

Anthony Rizzo was scratched Friday against the Cardinals.
Getty Images

“He felt something a little bit during batting practice and didn’t want to push through,’’ Boone said before the Yankees’ 4-3 loss to the Cardinals. “The last time he knew it was similar to in the past and it would be a few days. He didn’t seem to think that was the case [this time].”

Rizzo recently homered in four straight games and is second on the Yankees with 27 homers, trailing only Aaron Judge.

He was also unavailable to pinch-hit in the ninth, as Aaron Hicks led off and struck out to extend his hitless streak to 29 at-bats.

“He’s struggled the last couple of weeks from the left side,’’ Boone said of Hicks.


Matt Carpenter received a rousing ovation from the Busch Stadium crowd when he came to the plate in the top of the first, then heard some cheers when he singled during his first at-bat. Carpenter spent 12 years with the Cardinals before becoming a free agent following two down seasons. He signed a minor league deal with the Rangers prior to his stunning turnaround with the Yankees.

“There were a lot of emotions,’’ Carpenter said. “I spent a lot of time here. It was definitely a special moment.”


After Judge’s first half for the record books, Boone said he’s seen opposing teams pitch the slugger differently.

How Judge handles that will play a part in the success he and the Yankees’ offense have down the stretch.

Aaron Judge
AP

Judge entered Friday with seven walks in his previous four games before he walked and hit a pair of singles. He has tried to be patient at the plate while teams try not to get beat by him.

“He does get pitched around some,’’ Boone said. “We’ve seen that more lately, teams blatantly pitching around him. He’s done a really good job of having quality at-bats.”

And as Boone noted: “Eventually, they’ve got to pitch to guys. We’ve got a pretty formidable lineup.”


Andrew Benintendi was 1-for-23 with just an infield single before his eighth-inning double.

“He’s the last guy you worry about,’’ Boone said. “He’s such a good hitter.”


Frankie Montas is set to join the Yankees on Saturday in advance of his debut with the team on Sunday. The right-hander is on the bereavement list after the death of his mother-in-law. Boone said Montas was able to throw a bullpen session at his home in Arizona, so he’ll be ready to go.


Boone said he spoke with the rehabbing Zack Britton after the lefty reliever threw live batting pracitce on Thursday.

“He’s real excited,’’ Boone said of Britton, out since undergoing elbow surgery last year. “His sinker looked good. I think the biggest thing is the next day, he felt really good.”

Britton is scheduled to throw a bullpen session this weekend before another live batting practice in the middle of next week.

The Yankees continue to hold off on putting a timeline on his return.

“[The rehab] has gone well every step of the way,’’ Boone said. “He’s been really encouraged… But we don’t want to put some kind of expectation. We’ll see if and when he becomes a factor for us.”


Derek Dietrich, the veteran infielder playing at SWB, was suspended without pay for 50 games by MLB for testing positive for a banned stimulant. Dietrich last appeared in the majors in 2020 with the Rangers.

In 220 plate appearances this season split between Triple-A and Double-A Somerset, the 33-year-old has an .850 OPS.