Healthy Mike Tauchman adds new wrinkle to Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton decision

Aaron Hicks was back in the starting lineup for ALCS Game 3 — and that may not be the last surprise return for the Yankees this postseason.

Mike Tauchman, who incurred a left calf strain on Sept. 9, is in play as a roster option should the Yankees have to place Giancarlo Stanton (quad) on the injured list or for the World Series, should the Yankees advance past the Astros in the ALCS. Tauchman was expected to miss at least six weeks and it has been five weeks since he was placed on the IL.

“He is healthy and eligible,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said prior to Game 3. “That is why he has been down in Tampa doing all his stuff.”

Stanton has not started the last two games, but so far the Yankees have resisted taking him off the active roster. A player taken off the roster in one series is also inactive for the next series, so that would take Stanton out of the World Series as well.

If the roster stays as it is during the ALCS, Tauchman could still be a World Series roster addition. If the Yankees advance, once again they will have to decide how many pitchers (12 or 13) to take. In addition, Games 3-5 would be in the NL city with no DH, where pinch-hitting and double-switches will be more likely. So the Yankees would have to consider adding Luke Voit for his righty might, Tyler Wade for his speed and maneuverability and Tauchman for his lefty bat and excellent outfield defense.

Tauchman, obtained from Colorado as the season was about to begin, was a breakout revelation. In 296 plate appearances, he hit 13 homers and had an .865 OPS while providing strong defense across the outfield.

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