Oswaldo Cabrera continued to make an impact with his bat on Friday night, drilling his fifth home run in his last 16 games to account for the Yankees’ only offense in a 2-1 loss to the Orioles in The Bronx.
With a 2-for-3 night, Cabrera improved to 20-for-61 (.328) over his last 17 games while becoming an everyday player for manager Aaron Boone.
Cabrera started in left field on Friday before moving to shortstop in the eighth inning (with Isiah Kiner-Falefa shifting to third when DJ LeMahieu came out of the game). It marked the 18th straight start for Cabrera, who has also been in the lineup at second base and right field during that stretch.
With Andrew Benintendi racing against the clock to get back from a broken hamate bone, the 23-year-old Cabrera is putting himself in position to potentially be the Yankees’ starting left fielder in the ALDS. Bentintendi is scheduled to start with dry swings on Saturday as he tries to come back from a fractured hook of the hamate bone in his right wrist, according to Boone.
Aaron Hicks also has produced more often as of late when he gets starts in left field (with Cabrera moving to right when Aaron Judge plays center or serves as the DH).
“He’s surpassed what I expected,’’ Boone said of Cabrera. “He’s really, with some of the injuries we’ve had, become a fixture in the lineup.”
Frankie Montas is scheduled to begin throwing Saturday after receiving a second cortisone shot in his troublesome right shoulder. It’s unclear what, if any, role the right-hander will have in the playoffs, since Boone has already said he likely would be limited to being an opener even if he can pitch in the postseason.
Matt Carpenter (fractured left foot) is “ready to start hitting,” Boone said.
The Yankees and Carpenter will decide in the coming days whether it makes more sense to activate him for that Texas series or have him at the team’s alternate site they are setting up at Double-A Somerset to keep players ready for the postseason.
Boone said Carpenter would be limited to just a few pinch-hit at-bats in Texas, but would face more live pitching with Somerset for a week, so the team was leaning toward the alternate site.
Carpenter showed he doesn’t need much time to get ready earlier in the season, when he signed with the Yankees after his release by the Rangers and was able to contribute immediately.
Michael King said he won’t need Tommy John surgery and should be ready for spring training.
Everything to know about Aaron Judge and his chase for the home run record:
The right-hander suffered a fractured right elbow in July and will have another X-ray, likely in November.
“I don’t plan on missing any time, which is great,’’ King said. “I just need to wait for the bone to fully heal.”
The Yankees held a moment of silence for Hector Lopez, who died Friday at 93. Lopez, who played the outfield, as well as second and third base, spent eight seasons with the Yankees from 1959-66 and won two World Series titles.
The native of Panama also coached in their minor league system and was the first black manager at Triple-A.
The Yankees-Orioles game — and potentially Aaron Judge’s pursuit of 62 homers — could be impacted by weather on Saturday. “It looks bad,’’ Boone said. “We’ll see.”