It’s been a rough stretch for Rizzo in recent weeks, as he had his fine season interrupted by back pain. In order to address the pain, he received an epidural that was supposed to keep him out of action for a few days. However, he developed migraines from that epidural which were serious enough that he had to head to the injured list, though he now seems well enough to return to action.
That back injury seemingly put a damper on what had been an excellent season for Rizzo. Through August 3, he had already launched 27 home runs and was hitting .227/.347/.511. That production was 43% better than league average, by measure of wRC+, which would have been his highest such mark since 2016. However, from that point until his IL stint, he hit just .212/.297/.394 for a wRC+ of 96, or 4% below league average.
Rizzo’s drop-off and subsequent absence have coincided with a downturn in play for the Yankees, as they went 10-18 in August and are 8-6 so far in September. Though they once led the AL East by as much as 15.5 games, the Blue Jays are now just 4.5 games back with over two weeks remaining. The Yanks will surely be hoping that Rizzo’s return will help them finish strong to hold onto the division title and secure a bye past the Wild Card round.
After Rizzo went on the IL, the club also sent DJ LeMahieu there as well, leaving them doubly shorthanded at first base. Most of the playing time there has been going to Marwin Gonzalez lately, though he has been playing through some dizziness in recent days and then had to leave yesterday’s game after Victor Caratini hit him in the helmet with an attempted throw back to the pitcher. Now that Rizzo is back, he can hopefully stabilize the position for the club down the stretch and into the postseason.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post tweeted the news of Rizzo’s activation prior to the official announcement.