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Yankees Notebook: Aaron Boone excited to get reinforcements to open key series against the Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — Aaron Boone couldn’t help but flash a smile Friday when asked how it felt to include Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson in the Yankees’ lineup for the first time in a while.

“You’re talking about two sluggers in there that are just gonna add a little bit of length,” the manager said before the Bombers’ series-opener against the Dodgers.

Stanton and Donaldson have been out since April 15 and April 5, respectively, thanks to hamstring injuries. The Yankees asked Stanton to bat fourth and DH on Friday, while Donaldson hit fifth and played third base.

Anthony Rizzo (neck) also returned to the three-hole and first base after a few games of rest.

Boone said that Stanton and Donaldson will likely play in just two of the Yankees’ games in Los Angeles. The skipper reiterated that Donaldson will play regularly as the Yankees rotate their surplus of infielders, while Stanton likely won’t play the field for a couple of weeks as he continues to build up defensively.

Boone added that Willie Calhoun, who has hit well lately, will factor into the Yankees’ left field plans with Stanton back.

Stanton got off to a strong start before his hamstring, slashing .269/.296/.558 with four homers and 11 RBI over 13 games. Donaldson, meanwhile, picked up just two hits in five games before getting hurt.

The hitters were not the only Yankees to come off the injured list for this series against the Dodgers, as Tommy Kahnle was also activated. The right-handed reliever had his third stint with the Yankees delayed due to bicep tendinitis, but the Yankees are happy to have him in their bullpen again after he appeared in 13 games for Los Angeles last year.

“Excited to get him back in the mix, knowing what he’s capable of,” Boone said.

CABRERA’S DEMOTION

The Yankees had to make a few corresponding moves to activate that trio. Optioning Oswaldo Cabrera to Triple-A was one of them.

“I think it’d be good for him right now to go down and just take a step back,” Boone said, adding that the two had a good talk about the demotion. “Even though he deals with things so well and has such a good head on his shoulders and plays with maturity, I do think he’s pressed a little bit. Hopefully he can go down there and get some regular at-bats, kind of get settled, work on some things, and certainly be back in the mix. He’s a big part of what we’re doing here.”

Cabrera, 24, energized the Yankees when he debuted last year, but he slashed just .195/.246/.292 with three homers and 15 RBI over 50 games this season. He went 3-for-36 (.111) over his last 40 major league plate appearances.

Boone said that he wants to see Cabrera get back to “really owning and dominating the fastball” at Triple-A. The manager added that Cabrera will work on some mechanical things while playing all over the diamond.

POWERFUL PERAZA

Speaking of Triple-A, Oswald Peraza has been mashing there since returning to the minors on May 14. In 14 games since then entering Friday, he was slashing .371/.409/.887 with 10 dingers and 16 RBI.

Boone has taken notice of the shortstop prospect’s recent success.

“Oz is doing great,” the manager said. “I got the sense, even from the end of spring training, his focus has been really strong. Obviously, came up here for a short time and got into games and contributed before the ankle injury, and he’s really picked up where he left off, and that’s good to see.”

While Peraza has been raking in the minors, Anthony Volpe has had his ups and downs as the Yankees’ starting shortstop. The 22-year-old hit .174 in May, and he entered Friday’s game slashing .194/.272/.358 with eight homers, 24 RBI and 13 stolen bases.

Boone, however, doesn’t believe that Peraza’s surge is putting pressure on Volpe.

“Anthony and Oz both support each other and know that each guy is going to be a really good player in this league for a long time,” Boone said. “So I don’t think there’s any of that.”

ANOTHER RODON BULLPEN

Carlos Rodon threw a two-up bullpen Friday, totaling about 30 pitches while his fastball sat between 90 and 93 mph, per pitching coach Matt Blake. Blake added that Rodon could throw another bullpen in L.A. this weekend, or he could move to live hitters following the series.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH

Aaron Judge won the American League Player of the Month Award for May. His sixth such honor, Judge hit .342 with 12 home runs, 25 RBI, five doubles, one stolen base, 23 runs scored, an .882 slugging percentage and a .474 on-base percentage in 21 games last month.

The Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman won the award in the National League.

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Source: Berkshire mont

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