Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton flops in his return to outfield

MINNEAPOLIS — Giancarlo Stanton’s first game back in the outfield since returning from his stint on the injured list due to an ankle injury, didn’t go well in the Yankees’ 8-1 loss to the Twins at Target Field Wednesday night.

He mishandled a bloop hit by Carlos Correa in the fourth, then misplayed Gio Urshela’s fly ball to deep right later in the inning, backing away from the wall in right on a ball he should have caught.

Stanton also shied away from the wall on Urshela’s double to the wall in right-center to lead off the bottom of the sixth after taking a poor route to the ball.

“I’ve got to make those plays and put us in a better situation to not let the game break away [from us],’’ Stanton said. “It wasn’t my best night out there. … From my perspective, I was off by a few feet and thought I was closer to the wall. Those are mistakes that can’t happen.”

Giancarlo Stanton drops a fly ball hit by Carlos Correa during the fourth inning of the Yankees’ 8-1 loss to the Twins.

Before the game, manager Aaron Boone said Stanton would give the Yankees a bit more flexibility defensively, which is why he wouldn’t hesitate to put him in the outfield.

“He’s good at it and he likes doing it,’’ Boone said. “He’s got an accurate arm, reads the ball well, runs good routes and when he gets his hands on it, he catches it.

Boone also called Stanton “very fundamentally sound,”

“He’s not as fast as he was in the early days of his career, but he moves well and gets good jumps,’’ Boone said.

With Stanton in right, Josh Donaldson was in the lineup as the DH. Boone said Stanton would also get starts in left field, depending on what ballpark the Yankees were playing in.

Stanton said he was fine with that idea and added his ankle was healthy, but he lamented his performance Wednesday.

“I was definitely [ticked] off,’’ Stanton said. “I haven’t had a day like that in a long time, if ever.”

Aaron Hicks had two infield hits a day after reaching base four times.

Boone was as encouraged by his two walks on Tuesday as he was by the singles Wednesday from the struggling Hicks.

“Any time Aaron is walking like he did [Tuesday] night, it means his timing is getting into a good place,’’ Boone said. “He’s making good swing decisions.”

Boone also pointed to better at-bats from Hicks recently.

In seven games in June, Hicks is 9-for-22 with four walks and just two strikeouts. On the downside, Hicks doesn’t have any extra-base hits during this stretch, as his power continues to be nonexistent in his offensive game.

DJ LeMahieu went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly Wednesday. He entered the game in an 8-for-22 stretch, with two doubles, a homer, seven RBIs, seven walks and just three strikeouts in his previous six games.

“I feel good and want to keep it going,’’ LeMahieu said. “I feel like I’ve had some impact on games and hope to string a couple together here.”

His three hits on Tuesday gave LeMahieu 1,500 for his career.

Asked about the state of the team Wednesday, LeMahieu noted the contributions from up and down the lineup — but he couldn’t help but point out the obvious: [Aaron] Judge is doing his thing.”

Judge leads the majors with 22 homers and entered Wednesday with three homers in four games, four in six and five in his last eight. He went 0-for-3 with a walk in the loss.

Boone said what has led Judge to this torrid pace is his “track record.”

“He’s a great player and hitter,’’ Boone said. “His aptitude and experience coupled with the talent he has as a hitter has allowed him to get incrementally better at this point of his career than years before. And he’s walking up there with a ton of confidence.”

Anthony Rizzo entered Wednesday with three homers in his previous four games after a 30-game stretch in which he went deep just twice.

“I think his quality of contact has improved,’’ Boone said. “Even in the stretch when he struggled, he seems to have winning at-bats when it counts.”

His seventh-inning homer on Tuesday was evidence of that. He was 0-for-4 Wednesday.

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