Too bad the New York Yankees aren’t petty. Or biased toward certain teams in their farm system.
Either trait might have resulted in superstar slugger Giancarlo Stanton heading south for a rehab assignment with the Charleston RiverDogs, New York’s Class A affiliate. And if the Yankees were really biased, fellow star Aaron Judge wouldn’t be too far behind him on the peninsula.
As it turns out, Judge and Stanton were teammates Friday for the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate. Stanton had already played three games at Class A-Advanced, following a lengthy span on the injured list due to strains in his calf, shoulder and bicep.
And it was Judge's first game back after suffering a strained oblique in late April.
The rehab assignments are good for the Yankees, but not so much for RiverDogs’ fans. Granted, the Holy City was blessed with a Gary Sanchez rehab game earlier this season, resulting in an instant sellout at Riley Park.
Imagine the reaction if Judge and Stanton came to Charleston.
Darn that Dallas
Imagine being a minor leaguer in Class A ball, about a year into your career.
You’re fighting for a playoff seed and are almost there, clinging to a slim lead in the standings.
Then, out of nowhere, you find out you have to face a Cy Young-winning pitcher who’s forgotten more baseball than you know.
That’s what happened to the RiverDogs this past week.
With a one-game lead in the South Atlantic League Southern Division, Charleston took the field Monday against the Rome Braves.
On the mound was Dallas Keuchel, a two-time MLB All-Star and four-time Gold Glover whom Atlanta had signed just a few days earlier.
The 31-year-old was using the Class A game for a tuneup on his way back to the majors. The RiverDogs were his unfortunate victims, as he fanned nine of them in seven scoreless innings.
They lost that game, allowing the Augusta GreenJackets and the Lexington Legends to creep closer in the standings.
What could’ve been
Now imagine the Steinbrenner brothers, along with general manager Brian Cashman and the rest of the Yankee brass, getting angry that Keuchel threw a wrench in the RiverDogs’ playoff hopes.
The Rome Braves wouldn’t suffer since that series was coming to a close. But how great would it have been to take revenge on the rest of SAL by bringing Stanton and Judge (assuming he would have been ready) to Charleston for rehab?
If Keuchel made RiverDogs' batters nervous, Judge and Stanton – batting third and cleanup – would’ve had opposing pitchers shaking in their cleats.
As it turns out, Charleston could've used the big guns.
Heading into the final game of the first half on Sunday, they're trailing Lexington and Augusta. Both teams need to lose and Charleston needs to win in order for them to clinch a seed in September’s playoffs.
Having those two guys in the lineup would’ve been a huge help, and a site to see at The Joe.
Hopefully, the injury bug will stay away and there won’t be a next time. But if there is, Charleston can accommodate.