Tanaka’s promising outing vs. Tigers hits a pothole

LAKELAND, Fla. — Masahiro Tanaka wasn’t upset about being passed over for Luis Severino as the Yankees’ Opening Day starter. Tanaka, who started the last three Yankees openers, was more concerned about a promising-looking outing that got away from him on Saturday. After striking out five of the first seven Tigers, Tanaka could not get out of the third inning. He was charged with four runs in 2 2⁄3 innings in the Yankees’ 9-3 loss at Joker Marchant Stadium. Tanaka, who has an 11.25 ERA after three outings, gave up two home runs and threw a pair of wild pitches. He allowed four hits, walked one and struck out six. If not for a pair of diving plays on hard-hit balls by second baseman Tyler Wade and third baseman Brandon Drury, the third inning would have even been worse for Tanaka, whom manager Aaron Boone selected to start the Yankees’ second game of the season in Toronto. As for Severino, Tanaka said: “I thought it was well-deserved [with] how he pitched last season. He is the guy who should start the very first game of the season. Also, it was good to know exactly when I’m pitching when the season starts so that I can sort of schedule myself accordingly.” Tanaka struck out the side in the first inning but also allowed an opposite-field home run by Miguel Cabrera (no shame there). Tanaka struck out two in a perfect second inning before it all fell apart in the third. Niko Goodrum opened with a hard grounder to Wade’s left. The rookie dived and threw to Tanaka to get the out. Alexi Amarista tripled and Leonys Martin smacked a two-run, opposite-field homer to leftfield to give Detroit a 3-2 lead. The homer seemed wind-aided, but it was the fourth one Tanaka has given up in eight innings. He allowed 35 home runs in 178 1⁄3 innings during the regular season in 2017. Tanaka then struck out Jeimer Candelario on a nasty pitch in the dirt. It was so nasty, however, that it bounced past catcher Erik Kratz. Continue Reading

Boone doesn’t want switch for both Judge, Stanton

LAKELAND, Fla. — Aaron Judge played five innings in leftfield in a Class A exhibition game in Tampa on Saturday and caught the only ball hit his way. It was Judge’s first appearance in leftfield. Giancarlo Stanton has played left in six exhibition games, and after a pair of sun-soaked misadventures in his debut, has been fine since. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he doesn’t know if Judge will play in a real exhibition game in left before the club breaks camp. At this point, it’s more likely that Stanton will spend time in left during the regular season if Brett Gardner needs a day off, especially if fifth outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury begins the season on the disabled list. “I don’t want to have to move both of them if I can,” Boone said of Judge and Stanton. “But in both cases, I need to prepare them both for that extreme situation or if something comes up, obviously. But ideally I’d like to not move them both.” Ellsbury (oblique strain) might get into a game in Lakeland early this week, Boone said. “If all goes well again, the plan is he’ll probably get some simulated at-bats and possibly be getting into a game here on Tuesday,” Boone said. “But again, that’s fluid and it’ll be based on how he continues to respond.” If Ellsbury is not ready for Opening Day, Boone said the Yankees won’t necessarily replace him with another position player. They could take a 13th pitcher. That’s not good news for first baseman Tyler Austin, who is having a strong spring training. Austin is batting .269 with four home runs, but there might not be room for him on the roster. Trainer’s room Clint Frazier (concussion) is improving, Boone said. “Today he came in and already met with the doctor,” he said. “More improvement today. So we’ll gradually up his [activity]. He’s not going to hit yet.” Anthony Rieber covers baseball, as well Continue Reading

Aaron Judge likely won’t play any left field for Yankees

LAKELAND - Aaron Judge played five innings in left field during a Class A minor-league game on Saturday. Judge caught the only fly ball hit to him. Based on what Aaron Boone said Saturday, though, it appears that Judge playing left would only be in an emergency situation. Giancarlo Stanton has started several spring games in left. Stanton seems like the much more realistic candidate to play there when Brett Gardner gets a day off against a lefty or when the Yankees are playing in an NL ballpark and want to keep his mighty bat in their lineup. "I don't want to move both of them if I can," Boone said. "But in both cases I need to prepare them both for that extreme situation or if something comes up, obviously. But, ideally, I'd like to not move them both." Outfield coordinator Reggie Willits stayed back to watch Judge in action. Willits has been working with Judge and Stanton on backfields in left. Asked if Judge would see action in left in a big-league spring game with Opening Day fast-approaching, Boone replied: "It's possible but not definite or anything." INJURY UPDATES The hope is to get Jacoby Ellsbury (oblique) back in a game when the Yankees return to Lakeland to play the Tigers again on Tuesday. Ellsbury, who hit on the field again Saturday, is expected to get simulated at-bats on Monday if he continues to progress the way he has been. But that plan is fluid, Aaron Boone said. Boone replied "not necessarily" when asked if the Bombers need to carry another outfielder if Ellsbury isn't ready for Opening Day. Clint Frazier (concussion) continues to improve, but he's not ready to hit yet, Boone added. OF NOTE Tyler Wade made another diving play at second but committed an error at shortstop in the Yankees' 9-3 loss to the Tigers. Wade also singled, walked and stole a base. Wade will get in a game at third base this week, but will not play the outfield. Wade said he did not get any reps in the Continue Reading

Yankees name Luis Severino Opening Day starter

LAKELAND — It’s Sevy’s time. Luis Severino will start for the Yankees on Opening Day against the Blue Jays, Aaron Boone announced Saturday. The Bombers open the 2018 season in Rogers Centre on March 29. Severino, 24, had a breakout 2017 campaign in which he went 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA. "We feel like it's his time for it," Boone said. "With what he was able to do last year, we feel like he's in a really good place now. We just felt like now is the time for him to take on that role and we think he's ready for it. I'm looking forward to seeing him grow in his role as one of the aces of this staff." Severino will be followed by Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery. Montgomery will start in the team’s home-opener on April 2 against Tampa. Tanaka had started the previous three Opening Days for the Bombers. He went just 13-12 with a 4.74 ERA and a career-worst 35 homers allowed last season, though, before dominating in the playoffs. Sign up for BREAKING NEWS Emails privacy policy Thanks for subscribing! Send a Letter to the Editor Join the Conversation: facebook Tweet Continue Reading

Walker makes exhibition debut for Yankees at first base

TAMPA, Fla. — Neil Walker went 0-for-1 and was hit by a pitch in his spring training debut as a Yankee on Friday night at Steinbrenner Field. Walker, who played four innings at first base against the Astros and didn’t have a ground ball hit his way, hit a fly ball to center in the second and was hit by a pitch in the shirt near his midsection in the fourth. Both at-bats came against righthander Lance McCullers Jr. “I felt like I was in a pretty good place,” said Walker, who signed a one-year, $4-million contract on Monday after languishing on the free-agent market all offseason. “I’m very happy with where I am right now.” Walker has played 1,008 games at second, 19 at third and 17 at first in his career. The Yankees seem determined to use Tyler Wade as their primary second baseman and turn Walker into a utilityman, although they have not formalized that decision. “The right side of the infield feels pretty comfortable to me, so it was good to get some action,” said Walker, who will play second in his next appearance on Sunday. Jordan Montgomery allowed a pair of solo home runs in four innings in the Yankees’ 2-0 loss. J.D. Davis homered in the first and Tyler White went deep in the fourth. The defending World Series champion Astros didn’t bring any regular position players across the state from West Palm Beach. Mr. October returns Reggie Jackson, who underwent right knee surgery on Tuesday after a fall on Monday, was spotted walking around the Yankees’ spring training home on Friday afternoon. Jackson, 71, was using a walker and had a brace visible under his jeans. Asked how he was feeling, the Hall of Famer said: “Good. How are you?” Jackson, a Yankees special adviser, is a frequent presence at Steinbrenner Field and Yankee Stadium. Extra bases Aaron Judge will make his first appearance in leftfield in a minor-league game on Saturday. Giancarlo Stanton started in left on Friday . . Continue Reading

Yankees have a strong lineup, but rotation has nothing on Astros’

TAMPA - The Yankees' roster is presumably far from a finished product, as there's plenty of time between now and the July 31 trade deadline. But it's pretty clear that - at least for the time being - the defending World Series champion Astros have the edge when it comes to comparing rotations. Houston added Gerrit Cole to a group that already included Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton. The Astros also have depth in Collin McHugh behind them. Remember, it was Verlander who tweeted "I can think of a reason" why the Bombers aren't the team to beat in the AL - even after bringing in Giancarlo Stanton. Verlander can back that up too, having dominated the Yankees' vaunted lineup twice in the ALCS. And the Astros fortified their bullpen as well over the winter, adding Joe Smith and Hector Rondon, while hoping postseason hero Brad Peacock can fill the same multi-inning, high-leverage role Chad Green fills for the Bombers. Peacock could also be an option in the rotation should an injury occur - a star swingman of sorts. With Houston, especially in the postseason, pitching versatility was key. "At the end of the day, they've got 12-15 pretty talented pitchers," Aaron Boone said, noting all the role reversal in the playoffs, with starters like McCullers, Morton and Peacock dominating in relief. "Obviously, they're the champs, and a lot of it was on the strength of that." As for the Yankees, Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner have made no secret of their desire to add a starter. Cashman always wants to try and upgrade what he already has, while Steinbrenner always says you can never have enough pitching. But despite runs at Shohei Ohtani, Cole and Yu Darvish during the offseason, the Yankees came up short, leaving them with the same rotation they had in 2017: Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery. Cashman recently confirmed what the Daily News reported: that the Continue Reading

Machado: Judge comments ‘blown out of proportion’

TAMPA, Fla. — Manny Machado broke his two-day silence on Aaron Judge’s illicit recruiting pitch, calling the Yankees slugger “a great guy” and saying he thought the entire affair was “blown out of proportion.” Machado, the Orioles’ star shortstop who is a free agent at the end of the season, had ducked reporters in the immediate aftermath of Judge revealing he made an on-field plea to Machado to join the Yankees. Judge said he told Machado on Wednesday, ‘You’d look good in pinstripes,’ and then volunteered that information to a small group of reporters. Judge was admonished by Major League Baseball for his comments, with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman delivering the message on MLB’s behalf. Machado, speaking to Baltimore-area reporters in Port St. Lucie after a spring training game against the Mets on Friday, had only nice things to say about Judge, last year’s AL Rookie of the Year. “I think he’s a great guy,” Machado said. “He’s a great kid, and he always means well. Everyone always jokes around about a lot of things, and things that we say on the field usually stay on the field. I’ve told a lot of people they’d look good in black and orange [the Orioles’ uniform colors] as well, trying to get guys over here. It’s just part of the game. You want to put the best team out there on your field and if I’m a part of this team, I want to bring the best guys over here as much as I can. I want to get a ring as well.” Machado, who at 25 is the same age as Judge, is already in his seventh big-league season, all with the Orioles. It seems unlikely he will stay in Baltimore past this season and he may even be dealt away before the trade deadline if the Orioles decide to do a full rebuild. Baltimore discussed trading Machado during the offseason. Machado has switched back from third base to his natural position of shortstop. He is Continue Reading

Manny Machado says tampering talk ‘blown out of proportion’

Just leave our conversation on the field. That's the message Manny Machado had for Aaron Judge. Machado finally weighed in Friday after the Yankee slugger was reprimanded by Major League Baseball earlier this week for talking about the Orioles star. "I think it was just blown out of proportion," Machado said, via The Baltimore Sun. "I'm always going to back him up. He's a great kid and has a bright future ahead of him." "Everyone always jokes around about a lot of things, and things that we say on the field usually stay on the field," Machado said. "I've told a lot of people they'd look good in black and orange as well, trying to get guys over here. It's just part of the game. You want to put the best team out there on your field and if I'm a part of this team, I want to bring the best guys over here as much as I can. I want to get a ring as well." Judge gets call from Cashman after recruiting pitch to Machado Judge caused a stir after sharing with reporters a conversation he had with Machado before a spring game in Sarasota on Wednesday. "Adding him to our lineup that we've already got would be something special," Judge said. "I told him he'd look good in pinstripes." That caught the attention of Major League Baseball. "We have been in contact with the Yankees," MLB told the News in a statement. "They communicated to us that Mr. Judge’s off the cuff comments were not appropriate and not authorized by the club. They will speak to him to make sure this does not happen again.” Judge avoids tamper trouble after pitching Machado on Yankees "You learn something new every day," Judge said after Cashman passed along MLB's concerns. “I reached out to Aaron to make sure he got the full perspective, obviously clearly from Baltimore’s perspective as well,” Cashman said. “There’s certainly no intentions on creating any difficulties for Continue Reading

Reggie Jackson returns to Steinbrenner Field

TAMPA, Fla. — Mr. October has returned to Steinbrenner Field. Reggie Jackson, who underwent right knee surgery on Tuesday after a fall on Monday, was spotted walking around the Yankees’ spring training home on Friday afternoon. Jackson, 71, was using a walker and had a brace on under his jeans. Asked how he was feeling, the Hall of Famer said: “Good. How are you?” Jackson, a Yankees special adviser, is a frequent presence at Steinbrenner Field and Yankee Stadium. Anthony Rieber covers baseball, as well as the NFL, NBA and NHL, for the sports department. He has worked at Newsday since Aug. 31, 1998, and has been in his current position since July 5, 2004. Continue Reading

Boone leaning toward Wade over Walker at second

TAMPA, Fla. — Aaron Boone trotted out a lineup Thursday against the Pirates that looks like the one he might use on Opening Day March 29 at Toronto. The lineup: Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge (DH), Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks, Greg Bird, Brandon Drury, Tyler Wade. Yes, Wade over Neil Walker seems to be the way the Yankees are leaning at second base. Boone and general manager Brian Cashman made it clear when Walker came aboard Monday that he wasn’t going to be handed the starting job. The reason? Wade. The Yankees are falling in love with Wade, who is hitting .310 after going 0-for-1 with two walks and making a pair of sparkling defensive plays in the Yankees’ 9-5 win. “Another one of those days where he just opens your eyes with the dynamic he brings,” Boone said. “He’s a better player than I thought.” Walker will make his spring training debut Friday night when he starts at first base against the Astros. One wrinkle for March 29 could be that the Blue Jays might start lefthander J.A. Happ. Long Island’s Marcus Stroman has been ruled out of the opener because of shoulder inflammation. Wade bats lefthanded and Walker is a switch hitter. Extra bases Sanchez had a three-run homer and five RBIs . . . Tyler Austin hit his fourth home run . . . Sonny Gray allowed three runs (two earned) and walked three in three innings. “I thought he nibbled a little bit,” Boone said . . . The Yankees will see Alex Rodriguez next Thursday in Fort Myers when their former third baseman calls their game against the Twins for ESPN. Rodriguez, who is listed as a special adviser to Cashman, is part of ESPN’s new “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcasting crew . . . Chance Adams was sent to the minor-league camp. Adams, 23, had an 11.57 ERA in three outings after giving up five runs and two home runs in 1 2⁄3 innings in a start against the Orioles on Wednesday. Anthony Rieber Continue Reading