Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton to begin rehab assignment Saturday

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The Yankees have cleared Giancarlo Stanton for a rehab assignment that could have the All-Star slugger back in the team’s slumping lineup sometime next week.

Manager Aaron Boone told reporters Friday that Stanton, who has been out since July 24 with left Achilles tendinits, will serve as the designated hitter for the Double-A Somerset Patriots on Saturday and Sunday before returning to New York. The 2017 National League MVP is then scheduled to take live batting practice Tuesday at Yankee Stadium against Luis Severino, who’s rehabbing a strained lat muscle.

The Yankees will determine whether to activate Stanton from the injured list following Tuesday’s workout. Boone said it’s possible Stanton could return to the lineup for Tuesday’s game against the rival New York Mets, though it’s more likely he’ll be reinstated Thursday for the opener of a four-game series with the Athletics in Oakland.

Stanton, who appeared in only 42 regular-season games between 2019 and 2020 due to a number of injuries, will be used exclusively as a designated hitter upon his return. The Yankees used a similar approach when he came back from a quadriceps strain last season, as he made 45 consecutive starts at DH before receiving more time in the outfield during the second half.

"We’ll kind of, like we did last year where we built on the run, (add) the outfield reps and hopefully make that a part at some point, but not immediately," Boone said prior to Friday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Stanton, who was tied for third in the American League with 24 home runs at the time of his current injury, will be counted on to provide a boost to an offense that’s been dormant for much of August. The Yankees rank 26th in the majors in runs per game (3.50) for the month and have been held to three runs or less 11 times during a current 3-12 stretch.

Stanton has had his struggles at the plate as well. After hitting .309 with a .925 OPS through his first 36 games of 2022, the five-time All-Star has produced a .153 average and a .699 OPS in 44 games since May 22.