Since returning from the injured list, Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela hasn't looked like himself.
While the defensive wizard has made a few errors on defense at the hot corner, the main issue for Urshela has been his offensive production, or lack thereof.
As of Friday, Urshela is hitting .121 (4-for-33) since coming back from a hamstring strain on August 26. In those 10 games—including a brief period sidelined with a hand injury—the third baseman has struck out 10 times.
Asked after Thursday night's loss to the Blue Jays what has been holding Urshela back at the plate, manager Aaron Boone said the 29-year-old has been dealing with some timing issues.
"Just a little bit in-between," Boone explained. "He's been behind the fastball a little bit. He's chased and out in front of some breaking balls. That can happen where your timing is not there yet and that's what he's got to be able to find right now."
Thursday was a good example of Urshela's struggles. Just take a look at his final two at-bats.
In the seventh, Urshela faced right-hander Joakim Soria and after fouling off the first pitch of the AB, he swung through the next two. The third pitch was so far out of the zone, it nearly landed in the left-handed batter's box.
Two innings later, after Gary Sánchez and Luke Voit launched back-to-back home runs to cut the deficit to two runs, Yankee Stadium was bumping. Toronto's Nate Pearson was on the ropes.
Then, Urshela struck out on three pitches again to end the game.
A 101-mph fastball painted on the outside corner is hard for anyone to put in play, but Urshela's at-bats have been completely uncompetitive at times lately. And with the Yankees struggling overall on offense, New York can't afford to keep starting a player that's so far away from results right now.
Surely Urshela will get more opportunities over the next several days to turn it around at the plate. He is the Yankees' starting third baseman after all.
Before landing on the IL, Urshela was hitting .274 (85-for-310) over his first 84 games of the season with 16 doubles, 11 home runs and a .754 OPS. His batting average has since dropped to .259 on the year.
Boone assured that timing issues will pop up over the course of a season, but having them now with less than a month to go before the postseason is far from ideal.
"That's a tough place to be in," Boone said.
If New York needs to sit Urshela for a day or two—as was the case for shortstop Gleyber Torres earlier this week—look for Rougned Odor or Tyler Wade to get some playing time at third. Those were the two players that filled in admirably for Urshela when he was on the injured list.
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