New York Yankees relief pitcher Tommy Layne (39) pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Yankees relief pitcher Tommy Layne (39) pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

Bullpens continue to grow into a major facet of a club's makeup. It's no longer enough to have some decent relievers and a strong closer. Rather, teams focus on building formidable backend combinations, which in some cases stretch five relievers strong.

The known

The Yankees enter the 2017 season with one certain strength, the backend of the bullpen which features the trio of Tyler Clippard, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman. The threesome matches up well with many other top-flight backend combinations in the game.

Clippard is not overpowering, but he's consistent. If Clippard can pitch to the level he did once he returned to New York last season (2.49 ERA in 25 1/3 innings), he will be an asset for the Yankees in 2017.

Betances enters the 2017 season with a bit of a chip on his shoulder after Randy Levine's unnecessary tirade following the reliever's arbitration case. Betances claims to have put it behind him, and I would expect his performance will not suffer in a more comfortable eighth inning role.

Chapman returns to New York, now as the game's highest paid closer. It is reasonable to expect the fire-balling left-hander will continue to dominant batters in his age-29 season.

The unknown

The Yankees have the seventh, eighth and ninth innings handled, but coverage for the middle innings requires the club to make some decisions this spring. One benefit of having five pitchers battling for just two rotation spots is that the "losers" of the competition could simply slot into the bullpen. In the Yankees' case, each of the competitors have experience and some success working out of the bullpen.

I do not envision all three of the remaining competitors to earn bullpen spots simply because I believe the team will want at least one of them to remain fully stretched out at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Assuming the Yankees rotation remains healthy this spring, and the club does convert two of the three remaining starters to relievers, it would leave two open spots in the bullpen. Since the starters-turned-relievers will be right-handers, the Yankees will surely want at least one left-hander since the only other southpaw is Chapman.

Tommy Layne is the lone lefty middle reliever in camp with a major league deal for 2017, which gives him the upper hand to stick in the bullpen. Layne came to the Yankees via waivers last summer and performed quite well (3.38 ERA in 16 innings). Layne might not be simply a lefty-on-lefty hurler (.217 batting average against right-handed hitters while with New York). That said, he might be used in same-sided situations more often as the Yankees will minimally have four righty relievers who can handle batters from both sides of the plate.

Some other left-handers in camp with a chance to earn a bullpen spot include Jason Gurka, Joe Mantiply, Jonathan Niese, Evan Rutckyj and Chasen Shreve (who is on 40-man roster). Of that group, there are zero guaranteed producers which signals to me that Layne is a virtual shoo-in to break camp when the dust settles, especially if the Yankees decide to add two more lefties.

The Yankees also have three right-handed relievers in camp who are all on the 40-man roster - Johnny Barbato, Ben Heller and Jonathan Holder. The Yankees might have the benefit of two righties who can provide necessary length, so the final spot might go to a pitcher who can overpower hitters for shorter bursts. Heller seems to fit that mold. However, if the Yankees want to be able to use Layne for full innings, they will want to add a situational lefty.

How should the Yankees proceed?

It's nice to have the luxury of the backend of the bullpen set and it being one which can shorten games to six innings. However, the way bullpens are currently built, that is not enough. Couple the evolving construction model with a rotation that tends to deliver shorter outings than desired, the bullpen will get plenty of work.

For that reason, the Yankees having two right-handers from the rotation battle that can endure longer outings will be a certain benefit. The Yankees might like Adam Warren better in the bullpen and Bryan Mitchell is coming off a season in which he threw just 46 innings, so a limit on his work might be in order. They would be my picks as relievers.

I'll suggest Layne will make the squad because he can handle batters from both sides of the plate. In that regard, I believe the final spot will go to a situational lefty and if I was to guess it will end up being Shreve, who in my opinion, if put in a spot to face only lefty hitters, could excel.

Finally, I would expect the Yankees to shuffle the final bullpen spot with the group that lands in Triple-A as they have done over the last two seasons. Doing as such allows for fresh arms when needed and of course will be based on performance across the board.

Related: 2017 expectations for key Yankees

 

Tags: Adam Warren, Alroldis Chapman, Bryan Mitchell, Chasen Shreve, Dellin Betances, Jon Niese, Tyler Clippard, Chris Carelli

GEICO SportsNite: Yankees 00:00:47
Joe Girardi, Didi Gregorius and Luis Severino talk about picking up the win against the Royals on Luis Severino's eight-inning gem.

Behind the strong pitching of Luis Severino, the Yankees topped the Royals, 3-0, on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium. >> Click here for the full box score...

Severino (3-2) made it through eight innings on a season-high 114 pitches, striking out seven while allowing just four hits and a walk. He lowered his ERA to 3.11.

Tags: Kansas City Royals
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

The Yankees have placed outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury on the seven-day concussion disabled list and will call up Rob Refsnyderaccording to Jack Curry of YES Network.

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV: 

With Ellsbury looking to be out for at least the 7-day concussion period, the Yankees will have an interesting decision to make for the fourth outfielder as Hicks will certainly take over in center field full time.

Since the role will be mostly part time, the Yankees could bring up either Rob Refsnyder or Mason Williams as they are already on the 40-man roster. Refsnyder has been the go-to player when the Yankees have to add to the 25-man roster for an injured position player, while Williams has limited MLB experience playing across the outfield and provides some more speed.

Tags: Jacoby Ellsbury
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The New York Yankees (26-17) play Game 3 of a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals (19-26) on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.

Royals Yankees
Alcides Escobar, SS Brett Gardner, LF
Mike Moustakas, 3B Gary Sanchez, C
Lorenzo Cain, CF Matt Holliday, DH
Eric Hosmer, 1B Starlin Castro, 2B
Salvador Perez, C Aaron Judge, RF
Jorge Bonifacio, RF Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Brandon Moss, DH Chase Headley, 3B
Whit Merrifield, 2B Didi Gregorius, SS
Alex Gordon, LF Chris Carter, 1B
Tags: Kansas City Royals
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Yankees trying too hard? 00:03:06
The DNL panel feels it's too soon for the Yankees to honor Aaron Judge with a special section, and that it should have been done by the fans

Hall of Famer Dave Winfield cautioned the Yankees about putting too much spotlight on rookie Aaron Judge, according to NY Daily News. 

The comments were in response to the Yankee Stadium's newest feature in the right field seats: "Judge's Chambers." Chosen at random each game, 18 fans will sit in a special section that resembles a jury box where they can wear judicial robes with No. 99 on the back and wave foam gavels reading "All Rise!" on the side. 

Winfield thinks its a little early in Judge's career to be giving him his own fan section.

"It may be risky," Winfield said. "Making it in New York is a tough proposition, but (Judge) started off well this year. It takes a lot to focus and put it all together. I hope he doesn't get distracted with all the focus. Figure out the game of baseball first."

Tags: Aaron Judge
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New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) runs around the bases after after he hit a home run during the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement)
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) runs around the bases after after he hit a home run during the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement)

Prior to the start of this season, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge came to the humble realization that he needed to change his swing in order to have success at the plate.

"The biggest thing, the way I can explain it, was controlling my back hip," Judge told Kyle Glaser of Baseball America. "I watched the great hitters. They're into their back hip, and that's where the swing starts. They're in their legs, They're in that hip. For me it allows me to stay in and through the zone longer. I don't come around the zone."

The results of Judge's change have been obvious. In his three seasons in the minors, the outfielder out of Fresno State never hit more than 20 home runs or had a slugging percentage over .490 in a season. 

Yet during his rookie season this year, Judge is on pace for 58 home runs and a .692 slugging percentage.

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New York Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery (47) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. (Peter Aiken)
New York Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery (47) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. (Peter Aiken)

The Royals gained a late lead on Tuesday night in the Bronx, defeating the Yankees 6-2.>> Click here for the full box score


Jordan Montgomery (2-4) allowed just two hits while striking out six batters during his six innings of work, lowering his ERA for the spring to 4.30. The bullpen, however, struggled to maintain the Yankees' lead, giving up six runs in two innings. 

Solo homeruns from Aaron Hicks and Chris Carter provided an early 2-0 lead for the Yankees. 

Tags: Kansas City Royals
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New York Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery (47) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. (Peter Aiken)
New York Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery (47) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. (Peter Aiken)

The New York Yankees (26-16) play Game 2 of a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals (18-26) on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.

Royals Yankees
Alcides Escobar, SS Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Mike Moustakas, 3B Aaron Hicks, LF
Lorenzo Cain, CF Matt Holliday, DH
Eric Hosmer, 1B Starlin Castro, 2B
Salvador Perez, DH Aaron Judge, RF
Jorge Bonifacio, LF Didi Gregorius, SS
Jorge Soler, RF Chase Headley, 3B
Whit Merrifield, 2B Austin Romine, C
Drew Butera, C Chris Carter, 1B
Tags: Jordan Montgomery, Kansas City Royals
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Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

The Yankees entered the 2017 campaign believing they would have much better performance from their first basemen after a dormant 2016 season. Instead, Yankees first basemen rank dead last in MLB in each component of the triple slash line (.176/.288/.301) and OPS+ (45, with 100 considered average).

The drain at the position in 2016 was disappointing, but the club was optimistic for 2017 with Tyler Austin set to build on last season's cameo, Greg Bird back and healthy, and 2016 National League home run co-leader Chris Carter signed for added power.

Austin was hurt before a competition at first base could begin, allowing Bird to win the job with a fantastic spring training, while Carter was relegated to the bench...

Tags: Greg Bird, Tyler Austin, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird (33) works out during batting practice prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement)
New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird (33) works out during batting practice prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement)

Yankees 1B Greg Bird took dry swings on Monday at Yankee Stadium and should advance to hitting off a tee and from soft tosses on Tuesday, reports Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.

"It felt good today. Felt really good," the first baseman told the New York Daily News.

On Wednesday, Bird will hit in the batting cage before taking Thursday off. The 24-year old will then take two days of batting practice over the weekend before flying down to Tampa on Sunday. In Tampa, Bird will take a few days of batting practice and live at bats before starting a rehab assignment there, and then continuing his rehab assignment in Scranton.

Tags: Greg Bird
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GEICO SportsNite: BNNY on Yanks 00:04:36
The BNNY panel discusses Michael Pineda pitching like the ace in the starting rotation and shares their thoughts on the 'Judge's Chambers.'

The BNNY panel discusses Michael Pineda pitching like the ace in the starting rotation and shares their thoughts on the 'Judge's Chambers.'

Tags: Aaron Judge, Michael Pineda
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GEICO SportsNite: Girardi on win 00:01:04
Joe Girardi shares his thoughts on the Yankees' 4-2 win over the Kansas City Royals in the series opener at Yankee Stadium.

Three Yankees hit home runs while Michael Pineda won his second straight start as New York beat the Kansas City Royals, 4-2, Monday at Yankee Stadium. >> Box score


Brett GardnerDidi Gregorius and Chris Carter each homered to power the Yankees to their second straight win.

Pineda (5-2) gave up two runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings to win his second straight outing against Kansas City. He struck out five batters in six innings in an 11-7 win last Wednesday.

Tags: Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius, Kansas City Royals, Michael Pineda
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New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during the tenth inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during the tenth inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman is expected to begin throwing next week after he went on the disabled list due to a shoulder injury, according to YES Network.

Chapman hasn't pitched since May 12 and went on the disabled list two days later due to rotator cuff inflammation. He had been feeling shoulder discomfort for weeks before the Yankees placed him on the DL.

Chapman was scheduled to meet with a team physician before Monday's game against the Kansas City Royals, but manager Joe Girardi did not have a definitive update when talking to the media.

"Originally we said (Chapman) would not be throwing for two weeks," Girardi said, according to NJ.com's Randy Miller. "It's only been a week. But he does feel better, so that would be my update."

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Alex Rodriguez believes Yankees rookie Aaron Judge "has a chance to be historic," he told John Harper of the NY Daily News.

Rodriguez had the chance to analyze two of New York's biggest phenoms in Judge and Mets outfielder Michael Conforto in his broadcast debut this past week for FOX. 

Harper asked Rodriguez which player he would choose to have the better career, and Rodriguez stayed loyal to the pinstripes.

"Tough question," Rodriguez said. "I think they're both going to be All-Stars for years to come. But Judge has a chance to be historic. He's 6-foot-7, he benches 450 pounds, he's got a great idea at the plate."

Tags: Aaron Judge, Alex Rodriguez
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New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda pitches against the Houston Astros during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda pitches against the Houston Astros during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Yankees (25-16) begin a four-game series at home against the Kansas City Royals (18-25) on Monday at Yankee Stadium.

Royals Yankees
Alcides Escobar, SS Brett Gardner, LF
Mike Moustakas, 3B Gary Sanchez,C
Lorenzo Cain, CF Matt Holliday, DH
Eric Hosmer, 1B Starlin Castro, 2B
Salvador Perez, C Aaron Judge, RF
Brandon Moss, DH Aaron Hicks, CF
Jorge Bonifacio, LF Didi Gregorius, SS
Jorge Soler, RF Chase Headley, 3B
Whit Merrifield, 2B Chris Carter, 1B
Tags: Kansas City Royals, Michael Pineda
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New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres against the Pittsburgh Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres against the Pittsburgh Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Yankees are promoting top shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, according to MLB.com's Matt Kardos.

Torres is considered one of the top prospects in baseball according to several outlets. MLB.com ranked him the No. 3 prospect and the Yankees the No. 2 farm system, while ESPN's Keith Law ranked him the No. 4 prospect in January.

"He checked every box necessary in that league [Eastern League]," Brian Cashman told Joel Sherman of the New York Post in explaining why Torres is being promoted.

After Cashman received the go-ahead from minor league head Gary Denbo to promote Torres on Saturday. the general manager ran the idea by all of his departments, such as scouting and analytics, and everyone approved of the promotion.

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New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances (68) and catcher Gary Sanchez (24) congratulate was other after they beat the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement)
New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances (68) and catcher Gary Sanchez (24) congratulate was other after they beat the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement)

Dellin Betances continued his impressive season on Sunday, recording the final four outs of the game to pick up his second save of the season.

Betances needed only 16 pitches to retire the final four batters, racking up three strikeouts on the way to a 3-2 New York victory.

The 29-year old, who recently took over as the Yankees' closer with Aroldis Chapman on the DL, has not surrendered an earned run since April 8.

Tags: Alroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances
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May 21, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) hits a 2-run home run during the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
May 21, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) hits a 2-run home run during the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Brett Gardner hit a three-run home run, CC Sabathia limited the Rays to two runs in five innings, and the Yankees' bullpen tossed four scoreless innings as New York avoided a three-game sweep in Tampa. >> Click here for the full box score


CC Sabathia struck out six batters and walked one in a 95-pitch effort. After allowing a run in the first inning, Sabathia threw three scoreless innings before giving up a solo shot in the fifth. 

Didi Gregorius went 4-for-4 with an RBI, raising his batting average to .322 on the season. Gardner had two hits and Jacoby Ellsbury added a double.

Tags: Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia
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New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka walks back to the dugout at the end of the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka walks back to the dugout at the end of the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

New York Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka lost his second straight start on Saturday when he gave up six runs and nine hits in three innings in a 9-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Tanaka (5-3) left the game in the bottom of the fourth inning after five straight batters reached base, including Corey Dickerson, whose second home run of the game gave Tampa Bay a 6-3 lead.

"We have to get him right," manager Joe Girardi said, according to the New York Daily News' Mike Mazzeo. "I thought his slider was better today. I thought his splitter was better at times. But he made some mistakes with his fastball. His stuff was better than his last start, but it's not where we need it to be. And we've got to continue to work on it."

Tags: Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez, Masahiro Tanaka, Tampa Bay Rays
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JR Sport Brief: A-Rod's image 00:01:36
In the latest installment of JR Sport Brief on SNY.tv, JR debates whether former Yankee Alex Rodriguez is a changed man.

In the latest installment of JR Sport Brief on SNY.tv, JR debates whether former Yankee Alex Rodriguez is a changed man.

Tags: Alex Rodriguez
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New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning at Great American Ball Park. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning at Great American Ball Park. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees (24-16) will try to avoid a sweep as they wrap up their series with the Tampa Bay Rays (23-22) at Kauffman Stadium at 1:10 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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May 20, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) and Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) score runs during the fifth inning against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
May 20, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) and Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) score runs during the fifth inning against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Masahiro Tanaka allowed six runs on nine hits, Tommy Layne allowed three additional runs, and the Yankees fell to the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-5, on Saturday at Tropicana Field. >> Click here for the full box score

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka
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May 19, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA;New York Yankees relief pitcher Tyler Clippard (29) throws a pitch during the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
May 19, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA;New York Yankees relief pitcher Tyler Clippard (29) throws a pitch during the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Luis Severino limited the Rays to just one run in five innings on Friday night, but the Yankees' bullpen allowed four runs in the final four frames in a 5-4 loss.

Jonathan Holder pitched a scoreless sixth inning, but Adam Warren allowed three runs on three hits in the seventh, and only recorded two outs before Chasen Shreve entered to finish the inning.

Tyler Clippard pitched the eighth, but struggled with command and walked two batters before Evan Longoria hit an RBI single to tack on what ended up being the decisive run.

Tags: Adam Warren, Alroldis Chapman, Luis Severino, Tyler Clippard
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Matt Holliday connects for a two-run homer in the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Chris O'Meara/AP)
Matt Holliday connects for a two-run homer in the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

Yankees outfielder Matt Holliday hit his eighth home run of the year Friday night, but the Rays beat the Yankees, 5-4, at Tropicana Field. The two-run shot tied the game in the top of the eighth inning before Evan Longoria's single in the bottom half of the frame put the Rays right back ahead.

Starlin Castro and Jacoby Ellsbury also collected RBI for New York. Starting pitcher Luis Severino went five innings, allowing one run on five hits and three walks while striking out seven. 

The Yankees have now lost three in a row and seven of their last 10. They will look to get back on track Saturday as the series against the Rays continues with an afternoon tilt at 4:10 p.m.

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New York Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery (47) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. (Peter Aiken)
New York Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery (47) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. (Peter Aiken)

Yankees LHP Jordan Montgomery struggled last night, allowing five earned runs on four hits and three walks in five innings.

Montgomery surrendered two early runs to the Royals and was unable to recover. Mike Moustakas added a fifth inning, three-run home run to extend Kansas City's lead to 5-0.

The 24-year old has now allowed nine earned runs in his last 11.0 innings spanning two starts.

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May 18, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery (47) reacts after giving up a three run home run to Kansas City Royals Mike Moustakas (left) during the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports (Peter Aiken)
May 18, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery (47) reacts after giving up a three run home run to Kansas City Royals Mike Moustakas (left) during the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports (Peter Aiken)

Danny Duffy pitched seven shutout innings, Mike Moustakas hit a three-run homer, and the Royals cruised to a 5-1 win over the Yankees at Kauffman Stadium on Thursday. >> Click here for the full box score

Tags: Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Jacoby Ellsbury, Starlin Castro
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New York Yankees LHP Jordan Montgomery (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Yankees LHP Jordan Montgomery (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)

The Yankees (23-13) will go for the sweep as they wrap up their series with the Kansas City Royals (16-23) at Kauffman Stadium at 8:15 p.m. ET on Thursday night. 

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May 17, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Hicks (31) celebrates with shortstop Didi Gregorius (18) after hitting a home run in the fourth inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports (Jay Biggerstaff)
May 17, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Hicks (31) celebrates with shortstop Didi Gregorius (18) after hitting a home run in the fourth inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports (Jay Biggerstaff)

The Yankees' bats came alive and backed starter Michael Pineda as New York beat the Royals, 11-7, on Wednesday night in Kansas City. >> Click here for the full box score

Tags: Kansas City Royals
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Mar 15, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner before the New York City FC vs. New England Revolution soccer game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Mar 15, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner before the New York City FC vs. New England Revolution soccer game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner is pleased with the team's play through the first month and half, especially the effort of the young core. 

With that in mind, Steinbrenner said at Wednesday's owners meetings that he'd prefer not to trade any of the team's prospects away, if possible. 

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Apr 22, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda (35) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Apr 22, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda (35) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees (23-13) look to continue their winning ways in Kansas City as they take on the Royals (16-22) at 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday night. 
 

Tags: Kansas City Royals
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New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) reacts during the fourth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) reacts during the fourth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild is working with Masahiro Tanaka to fix some mechanical issues in hopes of getting the team's ace back on track after his recent struggles.

"Larry talked to him today about some mechanical things. Hopefully they get it ironed out,'' manager Joe Girardi told George A. King III of the New York Post. "I think his front shoulder was flying [open] a bit [Sunday]. Sometimes they're mechanical and we have to iron them out. He hasn't had a good splitter and slider for most of the year.''

In his most recent start, Tanaka lasted only 1 2/3 innings against the Astros, allowing eight runs on seven hits, including four home runs.

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka
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The Yankees' Starlin Castro celebrates in the dugout after hitting a three-run home run against the Pirates Saturday. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
The Yankees' Starlin Castro celebrates in the dugout after hitting a three-run home run against the Pirates Saturday. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

The Yankees have plenty of young talent on their roster, but because Starlin Castro is in his eighth season in the big leagues, it's easy to forget he's just 27 years old. Castro is in his baseball prime and based on his performance so far this season, he might be poised to tap into the potential some expected years ago.

At age-21 in 2011, Castro led the National League in hits (207) in just his second season and expectations heightened for the then-shortstop. Castro never reached the presumed zenith in Chicago and after a couple of rough seasons, he was traded to New York.

Tags: Starlin Castro, Chris Carelli
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CC Sabathia pitched a 6.2 inning shutout on the way to the Yankees' 7-1 win in the first game of their three-game series against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday evening. >> Box score

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Aug 31, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Dillin Betances (68) celebrates with catcher Gary Sanchez (24) after beating the Kansas City Royals in thirteen inning at Kauffman Stadium. The Yankees won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports (Peter Aiken)
Aug 31, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Dillin Betances (68) celebrates with catcher Gary Sanchez (24) after beating the Kansas City Royals in thirteen inning at Kauffman Stadium. The Yankees won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports (Peter Aiken)

President Randy Levine expressed the utmost confidence in new Yankees closer Dellin Betances on Tuesday, via a report from FanRag's Jon Heyman.

Betances has taken over the closer role in New York after Aroldis Chapman was placed on the 10-day disabled list with an inflamed rotator cuff.

"He's going to do great," Levine said. "He's ready. I have full confidence he'll do a great job. 

Tags: Dellin Betances
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New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning at Great American Ball Park. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning at Great American Ball Park. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees (22-13) begin a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium against the Royals at 8:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday night.

Yankees Royals
Brett Gardner, LF Alcides Escobar, SS
Gary Sanchez, C Mike Moustakas, 3B
Matt Holliday, DH Lorenzo Cain, CF
Starlin Castro, 2B Eric Hosmer, 1B
Aaron Judge, RF Salvador Perez, C
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Jorge Bonifacio, RF
Chase Headley, 3B Jorge Soler, DH
Didi Gregorius, SS Alex Gordon, LF
Chris Carter, 1B Whit Merrifield, 2B
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During an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, OF Aaron Judge surprised Yankees fans in Bryant Park.

Click below to watch

Tags: Aaron Judge
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Will there be another Jeter? 00:03:14
The Daily News Live panel discusses if New York will ever see another athlete as successful on and off the field like Derek Jeter.

The Daily News Live panel discuss if New York will ever see another athlete as successful on and off the field as Derek Jeter.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jeter, Chapman 00:04:04
Jonas Schwartz, Peter Botte and John Harper discuss Derek Jeter Day and Aroldis Chapman's injury.

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman felt pain and discomfort in his shoulder for weeks before alerting the team, he told reporters on Sunday.

Chapman was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Sunday due to left rotator cuff inflammation and could miss roughly a month.

"I heard Chapman tell you guys that, and all I can tell you is that he didn't mention anything," GMBrian Cashman said Monday, according to Dan Martin of the NY Post. "We check every day with the trainers to see what they're doing or if anyone is deviating from their routine. That's all you can do."

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) reacts after allowing a two run home run by Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (not pictured) in the seventh inning at Great American Ball Park. (Aaron Doster)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) reacts after allowing a two run home run by Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (not pictured) in the seventh inning at Great American Ball Park. (Aaron Doster)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Masahiro Tanaka has made eight starts for the Yankees this season. The bookends have been utter disasters, and maybe worse, what's been in between has been mediocre outside of one start. Tanaka's performance so far this season has both short-term and long-term consequences for the Yankees.
  
Short-term impact

Tanaka is paid to be the ace of this club. Whether you agree he is or is not, Tanaka is expected to perform as such by the Yankees. And quite honestly, Tanaka expects it of himself as well. When the fans are treated to such a dismal performance the boo birds will be in full force.

"I didn't do my job," Tanaka told Newsday. "They have all the right to boo me."

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka, Chris Carelli
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JR Sport Brief: Derek Jeter 00:01:52
In the latest installment of JR Sport Brief on SNY.tv, JR lays out his case for why Derek Jeter is the most successful New York athlete.

In the latest installment of JR Sport Brief on SNY.tv, JR lays out his case for why Derek Jeter is the most successful New York athlete.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jeter night 00:04:08
Justine Ward and Sweeny Murti report from Yankee Stadium, as Derek Jeter's iconic No. 2 was retired during a prime-time ceremony.

Justine Ward and Sweeny Murti report from Yankee Stadium, as Derek Jeter's iconic No. 2 was retired during a prime-time ceremony.


GEICO SportsNite: Yankees split 00:00:30
Joe Girardi talks about Masahiro Tanaka's worst start of his Major League career, as he went just 2 1/3 innings and allowed eight runs.

Masahiro Tanaka gave up four home runs in his shortest outing of the season as the New York Yankees lost Game 2 of a doubleheader to the Houston Astros, 10-7, Sunday at Yankee Stadium. >> Box score


Tanaka (5-2) allowed eight runs and seven hits in just 1 2/3 innings, allowing back-to-back home runs to George Springer and Josh Reddick to lead off the game.

Later in the first inning, he surrendered a grand slam to Alex Bregman that gave the Astros a 6-0 lead.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Houston Astros, Masahiro Tanaka
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Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter waves to the crowd after being honored during a pre-game ceremony to retire his jersey number and unveil his plaque for monument park before the game against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)
Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter waves to the crowd after being honored during a pre-game ceremony to retire his jersey number and unveil his plaque for monument park before the game against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Yankees honored legendary captain Derek Jeter by giving him a plaque in Monument Park and retiring his No. 2 on Sunday night.

Jeter spent his entire 20-year career in Pinstripes, winning five World Series titles with New York and recording the most hits in franchise history. 

The last Yankee player to wear a single-digit number, Jeter's No. 2 was officially retired and placed in Monument Park, joining the likes of Babe RuthLou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio.

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Yankees look to sweep their doubleheader against the Houston Astros when they play Game 2 on Sunday at 7:38 p.m. at Yankee Stadium.

Astros Yankees
George Springer, CF Brett Gardner, LF
Josh Reddick, RF Gary Sanchez, C
Jose Altuve, 2B Matt Holliday, DH
Carlos Correa, SS Starlin Castro, 2B
Carlos Beltran, DH Aaron Judge, RF
Brian McCann, C Didi Gregorius, SS
Yuli Gurriel, 1B Aaron Hicks, CF
Alex Bregman, 3B Chris Carter, 1B
Jake Marisnick, LF Ronald Torreyes, 3B

Who's pitching for the Yankees:

Masahiro Tanaka (5-1, 4.36 ERA) looks to win his sixth start in a row after giving up four runs (three earned) in seven innings against the Cincinnati Reds last Monday. Tanaka, 28, has pitched into the seventh inning in each of his last five starts, recording a 2.78 ERA and holding batters to a .237 batting average in that span. He is 3-0 with a 3.66 ERA in three starts at home this year.

Tags: Houston Astros, Masahiro Tanaka
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New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Chase Headley hit a bases-clearing, two-out triple in the seventh inning to key a six-run rally as the New York Yankees beat the Houston Astros, 11-6, Sunday in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. >> Box score


After Matt Holliday had an RBI infield single and Starlin Castro a game-tying double, Headley lined a Chris Devenski changeup into the right-center field gap to give New York a 9-6 lead.

The Yankees took a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning on back-to-back home runs by Castro and Aaron Judge, but squandered it when Adam Warren (1-0) gave up three runs in the top of the seventh inning on a Joey Gattis single, Castro error and Yulieski Gurriel sac fly.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Adam Warren, Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, Houston Astros, Luis Severino, Starlin Castro
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New York Yankees RHP Luis Severino (Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees RHP Luis Severino (Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees will play the first game of a doubleheader with the Astros today at 2:05 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees-Astros matchup on Saturday was rained out. The second game of Saturday's doubleheader will begin following the Derek Jeter Pregame ceremony, which is slated to take place to earler than 6:35 p.m. The second game will begin no earlier than 7:35 p.m.

Yankees Astros
Brett Gardner, LF George Springer, CF
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Josh Reddick, RF
Matt Holliday, DH Jose Altuve, DH
Starlin Castro, 2B Carlos Correa, SS
Aaron Judge, RF Evan Gattis, C
Didi Gregorius, SS Marwin Gonzalez, 2B
Chase Headley, 3B Yuli Gurriel, 1B
Chris Carter, 1B Alex Bregman, 3B
Austin Romine, C Norichika Aoki, LF 

 

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GEICO SportsNite: Derek Jeter 00:00:41
The Yankees will retire Derek Jeter's No. 2 before Game 2 of Sunday's doubleheader against the Houston Astros.

Feb 28, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA;New York Yankees starting pitcher Chance Adams (83) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 28, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA;New York Yankees starting pitcher Chance Adams (83) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The Yankees have promoted RHP Chance Adams from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre.

Adams will make his first Triple-A start on Monday against Pawtucket, according to the team. Read about his most recent start in our Yankees Minor League Report from Friday.

The 22-year-old has posted a 4-0 record and a 1.03 ERA through six starts this season with Trenton. He pitched in three spring training games for the Yankees earlier this year, allowing one run on three hits. He walked five batters and struck out four. 

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New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman (Caylor Arnold/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman (Caylor Arnold/USA TODAY Sports)

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman is in the midst of a swoon, as he has given up four runs and six hits in his last two outings -- which both lasted shorter than an inning. 

Chapman blew his first save of the season against the Cubs on May 7 and then failed to get out of the top of the ninth inning on Friday evening versus the Astros. The left-hander went five days in between appearances and even received a visit from the trainer on Friday when he shook his arm following a delivery to Jose Altuve

"Tonight is a night when he is usually not in the game, but he hasn't thrown in a while," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after the game versus the Astros. "I could have left him out there, but I didn't want him to throw too many pitches."

Tags: Alroldis Chapman
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New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (28) in the dugout before a game against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (28) in the dugout before a game against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner)

The Yankees will not play game three of their four-game set against the Houston Astros on Saturday because of weather conditions. Mike Fiers and Luis Severino were set to take the mound for their respective teams at 1:05 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. 

Instead, the Yankees and Astros will make up the game as part of a Sunday doubleheader that will begin at 2:05 p.m. ET and conclude with the final game of the series at 7:35 p.m. ET. 

The doubleheader will be single admission, meaning tickets dated for Saturday, May 13 will not be valid and will need to be used at a later date for another Yankee home game. 

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