Stanton returns to Yankees as baseball playoffs loom

New York (AFP) –


New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who has played only nine games this year, returned to the lineup Wednesday as the perennial Major League Baseball contenders prepare for the playoffs.

The Yankees welcome back the 29-year-old American outfielder as they play host to the Los Angeles Angels. He was slated to bat fifth and play as the left-fielder.

Stanton missed nearly three months with a right knee ligament strain suffered on June 25 against Toronto.

He had missed 68 games from April to mid-June with biceps and shoulder injuries, then made only six appearances before going back on the injured list. He is batting .290 with one home run in 38 times at bat this season.

Stanton's return follows that of Yankees pitcher Luis Severino, who hurled four scoreless innings on Tuesday in his season debut.

The comebacks are a good sign for the Yankees as they fight for home-field advantage throughout the Major League Baseball playoffs.

American League division leaders New York and Houston share the best record in the major leagues at 99-53, one game in front of the National League-leading Los Angeles Dodgers with 12 days remaining in the regular season.