June 14, 2024

Yankees not rushing Juan Soto back as he misses second straight game with elbow issue

The Yankees’ starting lineup didn’t include Juan Soto again on Saturday against the Dodgers, with manager Aaron Boone saying that they’re “leaning toward giving it a couple days” before the outfielder returns.

But Soto plans to hit in the cage at some point Sunday, he told The Post’s Greg Joyce after the Yankees lost to Los Angeles, 11-3, in The Bronx.

Soto, who exited Thursday’s win against the Twins with left forearm soreness, didn’t play Friday after undergoing an MRI exam that revealed elbow inflammation — and, perhaps more importantly, didn’t reveal anything else. That led to him feeling “relief,” as he described it.

Soto has been out with forearm soreness.

Juan Soto has been out with forearm soreness. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

When asked Saturday if a stint on the injured list remained a possibility if Soto didn’t show improvement, Boone said, “I guess” but added that he doesn’t anticipate that scenario materializing.

“When he’s ready, he’s ready,” Boone said pregame.

Soto went through his “normal prep stuff” Saturday, and when Boone asked Soto — who was receiving treatment — earlier in the afternoon how he was feeling, the outfielder responded that he was good and “noticeably better, in his eye,” Boone said.

So for the second consecutive night, the Yankees used Trent Grisham in center field and shifted Aaron Judge to right with Alex Verdugo in left.

Soto’s absence left a glaring hole in the Yankees’ lineup, though, with the 25-year-old hitting .318 — the second-highest average in the American League behind the Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr. (.322) — and launching 17 homers.

Tests revealed elbow inflamation, but no other apparent injuries.

Tests revealed elbow inflammation, but no other apparent injuries. Robert Sabo for NY Post

Soto hadn’t missed consecutive games since back tightness sidelined him for three straight in August 2022. He didn’t sit out a single Padres game last year.

He even played through the forearm soreness for about a week-and-a-half or two weeks this season, he said Thursday.

Soto’s latest absence doesn’t mean his current forearm inflammation has reached a concerning or alarming status.

Juan Soto in the dugout Friday.

Juan Soto in the dugout Friday. Bill Kostroun/New York Post

But the opposite of that doesn’t necessarily correlate to an instant return, either.

“I think he sees the big picture in all this, too,” Boone said. “And as much as this environment, this series, I mean I’m sure there’s part of it that’s killing him, not being in it.

“But I think he’s also like, ‘I also know I want to get this inflammation out of here and we can roll.’ ”

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