NEW YORK — For the New York Yankees, a doubleheader turned into twice as much of an opportunity for injuries.
Edwin Encarnacion became the Yankees’ 25th player to go on the injured list this year, sustaining a hairline fracture in his right wrist when hit by an 87.1 mph slider from Boston reliever Josh Smith in the eighth inning of a 9-2 win over the Red Sox that opened Saturday’s doubleheader.
Centre fielder Aaron Hicks hurt his right elbow in the sixth inning of the 6-4 victory in night game while making a throw to third base after Christian Vazquez’s flyout, holding Sam Travis at second.
Encarnacion estimated he will miss three-to-five weeks. Hicks was to have an MRI on Sunday and wasn’t sure whether to worry it was a significant injury, such as a ligament tear that would require surgery.
"Keep moving forward," right fielder Aaron Judge said. "A lot of guys are going to keep getting hurt, but guys are going to keep stepping up."
Encarnacion, the Yankees’ designated hitter, stayed in the game and the team said initial X-rays were negative. He then went for a CT scan, which revealed the fracture.
"I hope no more than three weeks," he said of a possible return. "Maybe three, maybe four, maybe five depending on how the rehabilitation happens."
Encarnacion will remain in New York during the team’s upcoming trip and be re-evaluated in seven-to-10 days.
He hurt his left wrist during spring training with Cincinnati in 2009 and injured it further on a swing that April 27.Tests found a chipped bone, and he did not return to the Reds until July 3.
Last year while playing for Cleveland, Encarnacion was hit on the right wrist by the Yankees’ Chad Green on July 15, played through what was diagnosed as a bruise and went on the disabled list from Aug. 11-21.
"I got hit there before, but the pain that I had when I got hit today is worse," Encarnacion said.
Acquired from Seattle on June 15 for minor league right-hander Juan Then, the 36-year-old Encarnacion has 30 home runs this season while hitting .240 with 76 RBIs. He is batting .238 with nine homers and 27 RBIs in 36 games for the Yankees. CC Sabathia and Judge had a stuffed parrot — Encarnacion’s nickname — with a cast on the dugout railing during the night game, in honour of their injured teammate.
"He’s done a great job going right in the middle of our order," manager Aaron Boone said. "So we’ll have to pick up the slack there, and we will."
Hicks said he never felt pain in his elbow before. He was hit for in the eighth by Brett Gardner.
"I just wasn’t able to make the same throw and throw the ball hard," he said. "With anything with the elbow, it always makes you nervous, but I’m going to stay positive right now until we get the decision."
Hicks started on the injured list after hurting his back early in spring training, and he did not play his first game until May 15. The 29-year-old, in the first season of a $70 million, seven-year contract, is hitting .235 with 12 homers and 36 RBIs in 59 games.
New York recalled first baseman Mike Ford from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to replace Encarnacion and could put in a waiver claim for former Yankee Tyler Austin, who was designated for assignment by San Francisco on Friday.
Hicks’ injury could lead to the return of Clint Frazier, who was banished to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on June 16. Frazier hit .283 with 11 homers and 34 RBIs in 53 games but struggled defensively. Frazier could take over in left, with Gardner moving to centre.
"It’s kind of crazy. Guys come back. Somebody else goes down," Hicks said.
Encarnacion became the 15th Yankees player currently on the injured list, joining catcher Gary Sanchez (left groin strain), outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (sprained right knee), first baseman Luke Voit (sports hernia), right-handers Luis Severino and Dellin Betances (lat muscles) and Sabathia (right knee inflammation).
Sanchez has been taking batting practice and been catching, and he could be activated soon. Shortstop Didi Gregorius hasn’t played since Wednesday after rolling over his left wrist; he took grounders between games Saturday and might be able to start Sunday.
AMONG THOSE WHO DIDN’T GET HURT
DJ LeMahieu homered twice off Chris Sale (5-11) and drove in four runs in the day game and Gleyber Torres had a pair of solo shots at night — missing a third by inches. New York moved a season-high 32 games over .500 at 71-39 and improved to 4-0-1 in doubleheaders this year with its first twinbill sweep of the Red Sox since August 2006.
Domingo German (14-2) allowed five hits in seven innings , including homers to Andrew Benintendi in the second and Jackie Bradley Jr. in the fifth, to win the day game. He is 8-0 against the AL East this year and became the first Yankees pitcher to last seven innings since Sabathia on July 6.
In the night game, Mike Tauchman hit a two-run single in the seventh on a hanging curveball from Matt Barnes (3-4) to break a 4-4 tie, making a winner of Tommy Kahnle (3-0).
"I wanted to first and foremost really control my heart rate," Tauchman said. "I knew the adrenaline of the moment would kind of provide that extra."
Zack Britton struck out Rafael Devers to escape a bases-loaded jam in the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman pitched around J.D. Martinez’s fourth walk for his 29th save in 34 chances.
New York improved to 9-0 when using Chad Green as an opener, beating the Red Sox for the 10th time in 14 meetings.
"I think that the greatest strength of this team is its ability to overcome adversity," Tauchman said. "Keep pushing forward."
New York is 42-18 at Yankee Stadium and clinched its 28th straight winning home record.
Bob Costas made his YES Network debut, filling in as Michael Kay recovers from vocal cord surgery and regular replacement Ryan Ruocco attended a family commitment.
Yankees: Sabathia (right knee) had a platelet-rich plasma injection and anticipates playing catch next week.
Daddy’s back: Boston LHP David Price (7-5) and Yankees LHP J.A. Happ (8-6) both return from paternity leave to start the series finale.