More injuries leave Yankees without natural center fielder

LOS ANGELES — The Yankees activated three players on Friday for their series opener against the Dodgers, but the game forced two others onto the injured list.

Ryan Weber landed on the 15-day IL with a right forearm strain, while a right hip flexor strain put Greg Allen on the 10-day IL. Nick Ramirez and the recently demoted Oswaldo Cabrera replaced the aching duo on the Yankees’ roster on Saturday.

Allen hurt himself swinging during his first at-bat on Friday. His hip became more of an issue as the game went on, but he didn’t leave until the eighth inning. Aaron Boone said the outfielder will undergo more tests in New York on Monday.

“He’s pretty sore,” the manager said Saturday. “Not moving around great, so it was a clear IL. We’ll get some tests with him on Monday when we get back. No need to get him in the car and go and doing it now. It’s not gonna change anything in the immediate.”

Allen had hoped to avoid a major injury, but his absence leaves the Yankees without a natural center fielder on their active roster, as Harrison Bader is also on the IL.

“It’s not the ideal situation,” Boone said, “but it’s things that come up within the course of the season that you got to deal with.”

Isiah Kiner-Falefa started in center Saturday, his 21st game at the position as a big leaguer. Boone also said that Cabrera will work at the position.

Cabrera has never played center in the majors or minors, but he did spend some time there in spring training.

“With as much defensive versatility as he has, he makes a priority to make sure he’s working everywhere all the time,” Boone said. “It’s a big part of his workday, his pregame and all that, so he’ll be fine.”

Aaron Judge is another option with experience in center, but Boone said he’s “a little reluctant” to use the slugger there right now.

“Doesn’t mean I won’t,” Boone said. “I just don’t necessarily want to do it right now.”

The manager did not elaborate when asked why.

As for Weber, he felt something was wrong with his forearm while pitching against the Dodgers on Friday. He was still awaiting MRI results on Saturday afternoon, but Weber said he hasn’t had an injury like this before.

“That’s why it’s kind of nerve-racking,” Weber said. “One of my best abilities has been my availability, so not being able to be available stings.”

Weber didn’t want to jump to conclusions, but he hoped for just a couple of weeks on the shelf. The soft-throwing, right-handed journeyman has pitched well for the Yankees, recording a 3.14 ERA over 14.1 innings.

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He’s also picked up a win, a save and a hold while pitching in what he called “Swiss Army knife role.”

Luis Severino pitched poorly on Friday, giving up six first-inning runs and three total homers to the Dodgers. The starter’s velocity was noticeably down, especially on his fastball and cutter, but Severino said he didn’t notice and attributed his tough night to command issues.

Boone, meanwhile, downplayed the diminished velo on Friday night.

“Overall, it comes down to better execution on a day when you don’t have your monster stuff,” Boone reiterated on Saturday, adding that Severino is physically fine. “He has games like that all the time where he’s living in the mid-90s.”

Asked if a review of Severino’s start revealed that he was tipping his pitches, Boone added, “We’re constantly monitoring all of our guys and try and make sure we’re as clean as possible.”

The Yankees granted Kole Calhoun his release on Saturday, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Calhoun, playing on a minor league deal, had exercised a June 1 opt-out that required the Yankees to release him or add him to their active roster within 72 hours.

The veteran outfielder hit well over 23 games at Triple-A, slashing .281/.390/.528 with six doubles, two triples, four homers and 18 RBI.

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