No clinch for Boston.
The Yankees racked up eight hits compared to the Royals’ six, but ultimately the Bombers fell 5-to-2 behind shoddy defense in Kansas City.
The Royals jumped out to an early 1-to-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Whit Merrifield doubled, stole third and then came around to score on a fielders choice pop-up to Gleyber Torres.
Torres’ defense cost the Yankees two runs in the third too, as a fielding error allowed Merrifield to score. Starter CC Sabathia then walked Hunter Dozier with the bases loaded to force in another run. Salvador Pérez hit a solo home run off Sabathia in the fifth.
The Yankees got two runs back in the sixth, as Giancarlo Stanton led off the inning with a single, followed by a single from Aaron Hicks. Neil Walker, normally a zero against lefty pitchers, rapped a clutch RBI single to center to score Stanton. Miguel Andújar then lifted a deep sacrifice fly to score Hicks. That was all the scoring the Yankees would get.
In the seventh, David Robertson walked Mike Moustakas before allowing a double to Pérez that put the game on ice for the Royals.
Chasen Shreve and Jonathan Holder each threw one inning of scoreless relief.
- Billy McKinney: 2-for-4, 2B
- Greg Bird: 1-for-3, HR, BB
Each played nine innings in Double-A Trenton’s 2-to-0 victory over the Bowie Baysox.
Luis Severino gets the ball for the Yankees in the middle game of the series. Lefty Danny Duffy is his counterpart. Severino has not lost in his past six starts, while Duffy yielded nine runs in 3⅓ innings against the Cleveland Indians in his last start.
After being designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for outfielder Clint Frazier, RHP David Hale has elected free agency in lieu of accepting an outright assignment with the Yankees.
The Yankees picked Hale up on a minor league contract and invited him to Spring Training this past offseason. In two appearances with the Yankees, Hale gave up two earned runs in five innings of mop-up relief.
Hale previously declined an outright assignment April 30 after being designated for assignment by the Minnesota Twins. The Twins claimed Hale off waivers after the Yankees designated him for assignment after the acquisition of A.J. Cole. Hale appeared once for the Twins, giving up four runs in three innings against the Cincinnatti Reds on April 27.
The Yankees farm system took a hit Friday as No. 2 overall prospect outfielder Estevan Florial will require hamate surgery on his right wrist, per George A. King III of the New York Post. The team has yet to officially confirm the injury.
Florial had left Thursday night’s game with a sore wrist after Class-A Advanced Tampa Tarpons’ manager Patrick Osborn noticed some “funky” swings from the 20-year-old. The surgery essentially requires the doctor to remove the hamate bone from the wrist.
“I figured something must be bothering him, so I made the switch to take him out, and later, we got word from the trainer that was working on him that it was soreness in the right wrist,” Osborn told MiLB.com.
After being promoted to Double-A Trenton for the Eastern League playoffs last season, Florial began 2018 back in Tampa. He broke out in 2017 to a .298/.372/.479 line in 110 games between Low-A Charleston and Tampa. He then went on to hit .286/.383/.414 in 19 Arizona Fall League games.
Prior to the injury, Florial carried a .246/.353/.343 slash-line in 36 games with Tampa. It’s worth speculating that Florial’s average and on-base percentage could be down because he was attempting to play through the injury, which could have sapped some of his power.
It appears likely that Florial will return to the Arizona Fall League to make up for the time he misses because of the surgery. The Yankees transferred Dom Thompson-Williams from Low-A Charleston to Tampa to replace Florial. Thompson-Williams was deserving of a promotion regardless, hitting .378/.425/.811 with five home runs in 10 games.
Whoa – Yankees baseball is back after far too much time without it. There’s no rain in the forecast tonight in Kansas City as CC Sabathia leads the Bombers into a three-game set with the Royals.
Sabathia was originally scheduled to start Wednesday’s series finale against the Washington Nationals, but that was washed out along with the remainder of Tuesday’s suspended game. He stumbled a bit in his last start against the Red Sox on May 10, where he gave up four earned runs in four innings. That start saw his season ERA jump from a stingy 1.39 to a still-impressive 2.23. The veteran has a career 21-11 record and 3.14 ERA in 39 career starts against the Royals. It’ll be interesting to see how Sabathia responds to the extra rest, since he has a career 4.09 ERA in 71 starts with 6+ days of rest.
The Yankees face off against righty Jakob Junis in the series opener. Through eight starts this season, Junis has been one of the Royals’ most consistent pitchers. He’s got a 4-3 record, and has given up two runs or less in five out of those eight starts. Unsurprisingly, the Royals have won each of those five starts. Junis faced the Yankees once last season, giving up six earned runs on seven hits. Aaron Judge and Greg Bird each homered off him in an eventual 11-to-3 Yankees win.
Clint Frazier remains with the Yankees as a fourth bench option. It seems likely that he will start in left or center for Saturday and/or Sunday’s games against lefties Danny Duffy and Eric Skoglund, respectively. Brett Gardner has hit just .188/.278/.188 in a 37 plate appearance sample against lefties this season, and Aaron Hicks has hit an even worse .115/.172/.154 in 29 plate appearances against southpaws. Definitely doesn’t hurt to get Red Thunder and his .362/.423/.702 line from Triple-A into the lineup.
The Yankees feel comfortable with an expanded bench since their bullpen has had ample rest because of Wednesday’s rainout and Thursday’s regularly scheduled off-day. Domingo Germán will be available out of the bullpen during the Royals series, though he is also scheduled to start May 22 against the Texas Rangers.
There was brief confusion prior to the game regarding who is actually starting at second base, with the first lineup indicating Ronald Torreyes at that spot. It turns out the Royals made an error on the video board, and that’s how Torreyes’ name got into the mix. The plan was to start Gleyber Torres all along, per Aaron Boone.
Here’s the most recent update on the two injured Yankees on their rehab assignments (each has played six games):
- Greg Bird (right ankle surgery): 2-for-17 (.118/.348/.118), 6 BB, 4 K – Bird may be a bit rusty, but his plate discipline is in full form.
- Billy McKinney (left shoulder sprain): 3-for-19 (.158/.360/.211), 6 BB, 6 K – McKinney has one extra base hit.
Not rehab related, but The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported today that Brandon Drury (migraines, blurred vision) is taking the full 72 hours allotted to him to report to Triple-A Scranton “not because he is upset with the club, but because he wants to squeeze in two extra visits with a specialist in Greenwich, Ct., who is treating him for an irritated tendon in his neck”. Drury was optioned to Triple-A on May 14 after his 20-day rehab assignment window expired, and reported back to SWB today.
Definitely not rehab related: Jacoby Ellsbury has suffered a minor back injury while trying to come back from approximately five different injuries and has now been shut down from baseball activities.
- Whit Merrifield – 2B
- Jorge Soler – RF
- Mike Moustakas – 3B
- Salvador Pérez – C
- Jon Jay – LF
- Hunter Dozier – 1B
- Alex Gordon – DH
- Alcides Escobar – SS
- Abraham Almonte – CF
Jakob Junis – RHP
No Yankees baseball again (today was a scheduled off-day), so here are a few notes I’ve gathered throughout today:
- The Yanks didn’t have the best accommodations Wednesday night as they attempted to escape the rain in Washington. According to Newsday’s Erik Boland, the team was forced to sleep overnight inside Dulles Airport outside the capital because of flight delays and hotels being overfilled. “It was an unfortunate set of circumstances,” GM Brian Cashman said late Wednesday afternoon, per Boland.
- Outfielder Estevan Florial, the team’s No. 2 prospect, was lifted from Class-A Advanced Tampa’s contest against the Dunedin Blue Jays with “right wrist soreness”. The 20-year-old had a 32-game on-base streak snapped as he was lifted after going 0-for-2. “I noticed in his first at-bat he had some funky-looking swings,” manager Patrick Osborn said. “And then in his second at-bat, he had another one that resembled those ones from the first. I figured something must be bothering him, so I made the switch to take him out, and later, we got word from the trainer that was working on him that it was soreness in the right wrist.” No further word from the Tarpons at this point regarding the severity of the injury. Florial is slashing .246/.353/.343 through 36 games with Tampa this season.
- Clint Frazier will stay with the big league club for the upcoming three-game series with the Kansas City Royals, with Aaron Boone stating that the outfielder will be a part of the team’s roster puzzle “for now”. With all of the recent rainouts, the bullpen has been extremely rested. That has allowed the team to put Domingo Germán into the bullpen until his scheduled start Tuesday, therefore allowing Frazier to be a fourth bat on the bench.
- The team’s top pitching prospect, lefty Justus Sheffield, has a return date in place after being placed on the 7-day disabled list with left shoulder stiffness May 12. The Yanks’ No. 3 overall prospect will return to the rotation May 23, starting against the Pawtucket Red Sox. Sheffield has a 2.16 ERA in two starts since being promoted to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
- Former Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira joined Michael Kay on The Michael Kay Show earlier this afternoon, and had plenty to say regarding the aftermath of former teammate Robinson Canó‘s 80-game suspension for Furosemide. The drug is banned under the MLB Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program because it is a diuretic that can be used to mask performance-enhancing drugs. “I don’t really want to get into too much detail, I love Robbie, but I’m not surprised,” Teixeira said. “I don’t want to get too much further but I think a lot of people are trying to say the same thing. (Yankees GM Brian) Cash(man) had to catch himself in an interview a couple days ago, but yeah, not surprised.” Canó is not the only former teammate of Teixeira’s to be punished for PEDs, since the three-time All-Star also shared a roster with Melky Cabrera and Alex Rodriguez. The influence of those two players may have pushed Canó down the path to using performance-enhancing drugs, Teixiera argued in his segment. “Listen, Robbie, look at his situation here: Robbie Cano’s assistant was on the list for Biogenesis. Of course, he has an assistant, you know, buys stuff for him. Alex Rodriguez got popped by Biogenesis. Melky (Cabrera) got popped. They’re best friends,” he said. “When someone gets lumped into that group, it’s because there’s evidence. There’s a paper trail. There’s a smoke trail.” He went on to say that many of his former teammates were able to get away with it, and even went on to say that some of them are already in the Hall of Fame.
The Yankees and Washington Nationals did not get too far in their two-games series. The teams made it through 5½ innings of 3-to-3 baseball before being forced to suspend the game prior to the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday. The teams planned to finish the suspended game Wednesday evening prior to the regularly scheduled start time of Wednesday’s game.
Fast forward to tonight: none of the 12½ innings of baseball scheduled ended up being played. The threat of further bad weather forced the the completion of Tuesday’s game and playing of Wednesday’s game into a doubleheader on June 18.
“You’ve got to deal with it,” Giancarlo Stanton said to Bryan Hoch. “It’d be worse if we were just sitting around here all day and they banged it. We got good notice. We’ll get a little workout in, get what we need cleaned up and play when the weather is ready.”
Manager Aaron Boone told reporters that Thursday, a mutual off-day for both teams, could not function as a makeup date because of hotel conflicts and a previously scheduled event at Nationals Park.
There is both good and bad to that postponement:
- The Good: the Yankees avoid Max Scherzer, the Nationals’ ace who carried a 1.69 ERA (1.75 FIP) into what would’ve been his start tonight. Plus, the Yankees regain the designated hitter as they open up a three-game series with the Royals in Kansas City on Friday.
- The Bad: the June 18 makeup date occurs in the middle of what would’ve been a nine-game homestand. The Yankees must play the Tampa Bay Rays on June 17, go to Washington to play those 12½ innings of baseball and then return to the Bronx to take on the Seattle Mariners on June 19. The Yankees will play 17 games in 16 days from June 12 to June 27.
The Yankees won’t reshuffle their starting rotation because of the rainouts. CC Sabathia, who was scheduled to start Wednesday, will start the series opener in Kansas City. He will be followed by Luis Severino on Saturday and Sonny Gray on Sunday.
Aaron Boone indicated that current fifth starter Domingo Germán will be available in relief during the Royals series, since he has not appeared in a game since May 12. According to the Yankees official website, he is scheduled to start May 22 in Texas.
It’s unclear if the Yankees will continue going with a seven-man bullpen and four-man bench in Kansas City. The team recalled Clint Frazier for the Nationals series, and designated David Hale for assignment to gain a roster spot. The Yankees do have an open 40-man spot with Hale in DFA-limbo, and also now have a healthy Giovanny Gallegos at their disposal. Boone told reporters that Gallegos would have been recalled as the 26th man if the Yankees were to play two games Wednesday.
The Yankees add an extra bat to their bench for their interleague series in Washington this week, as the team recalled Clint Frazier to join them in the nation’s capital. To make room on the 25-man roster, RHP David Hale was designated for assignment.
Frazier has been absolutely tearing up the International League since being activated from the 7-day concussion disabled list. Since being optioned on May 2, the 23-year-old carried a .395/.458/.767 slash with three homers in 11 games. The RailRiders also put Frazier in center field, aiming to expand his versatility beyond the outfield corners.
Brett Gardner is starting to hit his stride, but Aaron Hicks has been really struggling in the same sample size as Frazier’s success. In the bigs, Hicks has been 7-for-40 (.175/.227/.300, 38 wRC+) in 11 games since May 2. Hicks, however, is out of minor league options so it’s unlikely the Yankees try to jettison him this season. He is still an arbitration player, earning $2,825,000 in 2018. They could non-tender him in the offseason.
By recalling Frazier, the Yankees are showing they still believe in the highly touted prospect acquired in the Andrew Miller trade. Gardner has a club option for the 2019 season, and at 35, could be done in the Bronx. Frazier has a future, but it remains to be seen whether it will be in a pinstriped No. 77 jersey or elsewhere as the Yankees pursue starting pitching.