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Yankees lineup scuffling with Juan Soto sidelined by forearm inflammation

NEW YORK (AP) — Minus slugger Juan Soto, the New York Yankees are struggling to generate offense.

Soto sat out again Saturday night because of left forearm inflammation, and New York was handed an 11-3 defeat for its second consecutive loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“He kind of ramped up and everything. I don’t know that he hit or anything like that, but kind of went through his pregame stuff that he does. So we’ll see," manager Aaron Boone said after the game.

New York has the best record in the American League at 45-21, but the Yankees have managed only four runs in 23 innings at the plate since Soto exited Thursday night’s 8-5 win over the Twins with forearm discomfort. Three have come on two solo homers Saturday by Aaron Judge and his RBI single in the 11th inning of a 2-1 defeat Friday night.

Boone said Soto will “probably” hit on Sunday.

“I know today he felt really good, noticeably better in his eyes, but it was also important I think that yesterday he not do much of anything baseball (related) to try and get this to calm down," Boone said. "It sounded like he felt a lot better today. Went through kind of his normal prep stuff that went pretty well. So we’ll see what we have tomorrow.”

The star right fielder missed his first game of the season Friday night in the series opener against the Dodgers after being removed from Thursday's game versus Minnesota following a 56-minute rain delay before the sixth inning. He said the forearm on his throwing arm had been bothering him for about 1 1/2 or two weeks.

A scan showed only inflammation, which Soto called “a relief,” and he is day to day.

“We're leaning towards giving it a couple days, for sure,” Boone said Saturday afternoon. “So we'll see how he does today, and moving around.”

Center fielder Trent Grisham replaced Soto in the lineup again, with Judge shifting from center to right. And for the second straight night, left fielder Alex Verdugo was moved up from cleanup to Soto's regular No. 2 spot in the batting order.

“It’s a big bat out for us right now but at the end of the day when one guy is down, the next guy’s got to step up," Verdugo said after the Yankees went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 overall.

Boone said Soto was receiving treatment Saturday afternoon.

“I think he sees the big picture in all this, too. 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, but I think he's also like, I also know I want to get this inflammation out of there and we can roll,” Boone said.

"That said, I don't think when he goes out there like, he's putting himself at risk or anything. It's not that kind of situation. But, want to try and get it out of there, so we'll continue to kind of see how he's improving, and when he's ready he's ready.”

Boone was asked whether the injured list is a possibility if Soto doesn't make much progress over the next few days.

“I guess it is a possibility, but I don’t expect that to be the case,” the manager said.

Soto is batting .318 with 17 home runs, 53 RBIs and a 1.027 OPS.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB