“You usually don’t win many of those,” Manager Aaron Boone said, “but they just continued to battle.”
In the nightcap, the Yankees won, 5-2, in eight innings thanks to a dazzling major league debut by the pitching prospect Deivi Garcia, who allowed one unearned run over six innings, and a pinch-hit grand slam by Gary Sanchez, who was hitting .130 entering the day. The Mets fell to 15-19.
While the Yankees successfully used their deep pockets and savvy to overcome an M.L.B. record of 30 different players landing on the injured list in the 162-game regular season last year, they have faced more of a challenge over the current 60-game season. Eight players were on the injured list as of Sunday, with relief pitcher Zack Britton and the backup catcher Kyle Higashioka expected to return this week.
Infielder D.J. LeMahieu, the Yankees’ best all-around player last season, returned on Saturday after missing 10 games with a sprained left thumb. But other important Yankees — infielder Gleyber Torres, starter James Paxton and outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge — will need more time. A key relief pitcher, Tommy Kahnle, is out for the year.
Judge’s injury, in particular, has proved troublesome for the Yankees, who revamped their health and performance staff in January. Although he begged not to go on the injured list this month, Judge did, and he missed nine games with a strained right calf. He lasted only six innings in his first game back, on Wednesday, before exiting with renewed calf discomfort. He was again placed on the I.L. on Friday with what Cashman called a lesser strain of the same calf.
Even though Cashman said three doctors had agreed on Judge’s original recovery time, it was considered a “failed rehab” because the outfielder was again dealing with the same injury. As a result, Cashman said Judge might need double the recovery time, or up to four weeks.
It probably didn’t help that Judge, with the minor league season canceled this year, could not test his calf in the minors before returning to the major leagues. But that is a reality faced by all teams in this pandemic-affected season.