Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

In prepping for Mariano Rivera's inevitable (duh!) election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, I toured his pages on the indispensible Baseball Reference. To go there is to get lost in a rabbit hole of Rivera's pitching excellence. 

There's Rivera's absurd 205 career ERA-plus, which is the best of all time, and his 652 saves, the most ever. Or his ridiculous postseason numbers -- 0.70 ERA, 0.759 WHIP, just two October homers in 141 high-pressure innings. Keep going -- you might calculate the last digit of Pi before you run out of fascinating Rivera numbers. 

Heck, he even adds a signature number now, becoming the first player to get 100% of the vote on the ballots of members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, this one included.

Yet there's something beyond the stats or the eye test or the fact that he got the final out of four different World Series that helped teach me how great The Great Mariano truly was. It had nothing to do with what happened on the field or how his cutter turned bats to kindling, but rather stuff that percolated in a newsroom.

I was lucky enough to be the Yankees beat writer for the Daily News for five years, from 2000 to 2004. When I started, Rivera was already established as a marvel, his career arc pointing toward Cooperstown. 

Any time Rivera had a bad night or -- Horrors! -- a short streak of something less than his usual dominance, my clunky old Nokia cell phone would ring. (Full disclosure: The ringtone was the tune from Bizet's "Carmen" that was in "The Bad News Bears").

It'd be the boss. No, not that "Boss." I only wish George Steinbrenner had been in the habit of calling me out of the blue back then. It was the sports editor.

"What's wrong with Mo? Is he losing it?"

It's useless in these situations to cite blather such as, "Well, all closers get hit sometimes, it's natural." Even if some part of you believed that wondering about Rivera was like wondering if the sun has gone out because it's a cloudy day, the right response to the sports editor is, "Let me ask around."

So I would. Mo was good copy. I was happy to write about him and in the 162 mini-seasons world of the Yankees. I knew it'd attract eyeballs.

An old scout friend, Joe DiCarlo, who worked for the Giants and was always at Yankee Stadium, used to love getting my calls about Rivera's "woes," chuckling away at how Rivera would be fine. Joe was right, every time. 

Sometimes there would be a mechanical explanation that Rivera quickly fixed. We are talking about one of the smoothest pitchers of all time, after all. Sometimes, Mo just gave it up. The blather was right occasionally and that's part of what makes baseball so much darn fun, right? 

It's important to note this: The answer was never "he's losing it." He never did, not really. Just go back to those Baseball Reference pages. Bet he could've kept pitching with success long after 2013.



But it's a testament to Rivera's greatness that any blip was met with some degree of panic. It was simply stunning to see him fail because his brilliance was so clockwork and looked so easy. His pitching motion was gorgeous, at times appearing to involve all the strain of pouring a glass of iced tea. 

He always appeared calm on the mound. Of course he was no cyborg -- not with the emotion he showed during his career, particularly in the the last few weeks of his career. In business, however, he certainly appeared unflappable, as if he knew the outcome already. 

Of course, no one gets to have that. And that's why if you walked into a New York sports bar and shouted, "Ten bucks to everyone who can tell me who Bill Selby is," your wallet would be significantly lighter. 

Selby, of course, is the Cleveland Indians journeyman who hit a walk-off grand slam off Rivera on July 14, 2002. Selby was not exactly a star, so this wasn't anything like Edgar Martinez (.579 average against Rivera) hitting Mo. This was a shocker. 

But Rivera handled getting Selbied that day like he did the other times he lost: with grace. He admitted Selby hit his best pitch, the infamous cutter, even though he had thrown it precisely where he had wanted to.

Often, if he failed, he'd say some variation of this: "That's baseball. I can do nothing." 

Maybe Rivera's polish in those emotional moments was part of his secret sauce. Rivera knew postseason heartache alongside all that glory. No one will forget 1997, 2001 or 2004, least of all Rivera, but he never let those failures consume him. 

Maybe he was better because of them. He even turned one to public advantage, tipping his cap and smiling when he got cheered at Fenway in 2005, a few months after his rough ALCS. That melted even cold Boston hearts and those fans always seemed to admire him after that. 

With the news that Rivera is taking his rightful place in the Hall of Fame, maybe some of those fans will think of that day. 

Me? I'll pore over more Mo numbers. Rivera had a better ERA at the new Yankee Stadium (1.92) than at the old (2.61). 

But I won't wonder what's wrong with Mo. 

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Yanks offense sputters in loss 00:00:59
The Yankees managed just four singles while allowing 11 hits including a pair of homers, in a 6-1 loss to the Royals

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

The Yankees bats go cold in 6-1 loss to the Royals at Yankee Stadium. >> Box Score

Five takeaways from Thursday's game…

Tags: Domingo German, Jonathan Holder, Luis Severino, Luke Voit, Chris Carelli
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How does Frazier fit? 00:01:22
SNY's Sweeny Murti discusses Clint Frazier and Brett Gardner, and how they fit the roster once Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton return.

For the moment, Clint Frazier is providing exactly what the Yankees need given the number of key players on the injured list. 

The 24-year-old outfielder, who is not far removed from being considered one of the best prospects in baseball, is healthy after dealing with concussion issues last season and is displaying the "legendary" bat speed GM Brian Cashman has previously praised Frazier for. 

In 13 games entering Thursday, Frazier was slashing .333/.347/.622 with four homers and 12 RBI; he also had 11 strikeouts against two walks.

This comes as Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks are both nursing injuries, so the Yanks have been able to plug Frazier in at either DH or left field with Brett Gardner occupying center, Mike Tauchman seeing some time in left, and of course, Aaron Judge in right field.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Giancarlo Stanton
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Miguel Andujar (41) Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Miguel Andujar (41) Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

Yankees INF Miguel Andujar continues to work his way back toward the team, with the hope he doesn't need surgery to repair the small tear in his labrum. If surgery isn't needed, manager Aaron Boone noted Thursday that the team is considering how to deploy him so he doesn't suffer a setback. 

It was a week ago that SNY's Andy Martino suggested the Yankees use Andujar as primarily a DH, and even at first base in certain situations. Well, that's exactly what the Yankees are discussing right now, according to Boone.

Hitting hasn't been as much an issue as throwing for Andujar during this rehab process, which is why DH would make the most sense. The Yankees, though, have multiple hitters that can fill that role -- some of which are on the IL with Andujar. Giancarlo Stanton is one player that comes to mind, and he's reportedly close to coming back from his biceps strain as well. 

Tags: Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino, Miguel Andujar, troy-tulowitzki
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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

The Yankees (8-9) welcome the Royals (6-12) to the Bronx for a four-game series beginning Thursday night at 6:35 p.m.

Yankees Notes

Brett Gardner is staying in the leadoff spot after his clutch grand slam helped the Yanks beat the Red Sox on Wednesday. ... Mike Ford is set to make his MLB debut, batting seventh as the designated hitter. Ford was called up on Tuesday when Greg Bird went on the injured list with a plantar fascia tear. Ford was raking in 10 games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 16-for-39 with five homers, four doubles and 14 RBI. ... DJ LeMahieu slides back to third base with Tyler Wade playing second and Gio Urshela on the bench.

Tags: Brett Gardner, Domingo German, Kansas City Royals
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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter | : By the time the clubhouse opened to the media, some 20 minutes after the Yankees finished off a kick-em-while-they're-down sweep of the Red Sox, the place looked and smelled like the aftermath of a Fourth of July fireworks show.

Turns out it was the aftermath of a dance party instead, complete with a fog machine and strobe lights, which apparently has become the Yankees' standard post-win celebration in this young season.

Only extra-heavy on the fog for this one.

Tags: Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, J.A. Happ, John Harper
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Feb 17, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) throws during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports (Butch Dill)
Feb 17, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) throws during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports (Butch Dill)

Of all the Yankees currently sitting out on the Injured List, Luis Severino may be the most mind-boggling of them all. 

Severino's injury started with shoulder inflammation, an injury that usually needs rest to heal. But, after feeling more pain during his throwing program, Severino returned to New York to be reevaluated. Well, that evaluation included an MRI that revealed a lat strain, which has shut down the righty with July being his potential comeback.

But how can shoulder inflammation turn into a lat strain? Severino, who was at Yankee Stadium during the Yankees' win over the Red Sox on Wednesday night, believes that the strain actually occurred when he initially suffered an injury back on March 5.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Luis Severino, Scott Thompson
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Yankees beat Boston, 5-3 00:00:34
Brett Gardner talks about the big feeling from his big grand slam, and Aaron Boone talks about J.A. Happ as the Yankees beat Boston, 5-3.

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

The Yankees rallied in the seventh inning to beat the Red Sox, 5-3, at Yankee Stadium. >> Box Score

Six takeaways from Tuesday's game…

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Giancarlo Stanton, J.A. Happ, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees starting pitcher J.A. Happ delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees starting pitcher J.A. Happ delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees (7-9, five games behind Rays for first place in AL East) will look to sweep the Red Sox (6-12, last in the AL East) in the quick two-game series on Wednesday at 6:35 p.m.

Yankees Notes

James Paxton was electric for the Yankees last night as he set the tone in the win. The Yankees helped by plating eight runs on the night. ...Mike Tauchman collected his first Major League homer with a three-run bomb to right field. Clint Frazier also added a homer to right center that was just out of the reach of Mookie Betts

Tags: Boston Red Sox
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Apr 12, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher J.A. Happ (34) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Apr 12, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher J.A. Happ (34) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Ever since he broke in with the Phillies a decade ago, J.A. Happ has relied on rhythm and precision to carve up hitters. During his best seasons, Happ's results have outpaced the quality of his actual repertoire.

In order to achieve this, Happ relies on the subtleties of confidence and controlled aggression. When he's on, he works quickly, pounds the edges of the strike zone, and tricks himself into being unafraid that the ball might drift out over the middle of the strike zone and end up crushed over an outfield wall. He's one of those players who's good because he believes he's good.

So far this season, Happ has not been able to find that mindset. He is overthinking between pitches, and finding the ideal pace elusive. He is tentative and cerebral -- two qualities that undermine him when they emerge too strongly.

Tags: J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Andy Martino
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Mar 28, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; Fans wait in line to enter Yankee Stadium at gate 6 before a game between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles on opening day. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports  (Brad Penner)
Mar 28, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; Fans wait in line to enter Yankee Stadium at gate 6 before a game between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles on opening day. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The first installment of The Rivalry in 2019 wraps up this evening at Yankee Stadium, where the Red Sox and Yankees will play the back-end of their quick two-game set.

As it is, you'd normally be thinking of taking an over when this pair of rivals get together, as they boast two of the best offenses in all of baseball. That feeling is turned up when two struggling starting pitchers are set to do the bidding on the mound.

Tags: J.A. Happ
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Yankees shut out the Sox 00:01:11
James Paxton, Aaron Judge, Aaron Boone, and Mike Tauchman recap a big 8-0 win over Boston for the Yankees on Tuesday night in the Bronx.

This was the James Paxton the Yankees thought they were getting when they traded for the 30-year-old southpaw this winter.

After two subpar outings, the Yankees left-hander looked like an ace against the Red Sox on Tuesday night, tossing eight shutout innings and allowing just two hits while striking out 12 in the Yankees' 8-0 victory at Yankee Stadium. 

His fastball reached 99 mph in the eighth inning as he became the first Yankees pitcher with at least 12 strikeouts and two hits or fewer against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in franchise history. 

Tags: James Paxton
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Apr 16, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) reacts during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 16, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) reacts during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV  Twitter | About Me | ArchivesThe Yankees, behind stellar pitching and plenty of offense, beat the Red Sox, 8-0, at Yankee Stadium. >> Box Score

Five takeaways from Tuesday's game…

1 ) James Paxton was absolutely electric tonight. It was the first time he went to the mound in pinstripes, and just unleashed on the opponent. Paxton surely wasn't tipping any pitches, throwing 110 on the night, 80 of which were four-seam fastballs. Those fastballs averaged 97 mph with the fastest topping out at 99.2 mph. Paxton's final line - 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 12 K - could not have come at a better time for the Yankees. The Yanks traded for Paxton with this kind of a performance in mind, and hopefully for New York he builds on it.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, Giancarlo Stanton, James Paxton, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar throws to first base in the fourth inning against Minnesota Twins at Target Field. (Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar throws to first base in the fourth inning against Minnesota Twins at Target Field. (Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports)

While Greg Bird became the latest member to join the Yankees' already crowded Injured List on Tuesday, manager Aaron Boone addressed the other players and their progress ahead of tonight's contest with the Red Sox. 

Among the 12 members (including Bird), Miguel Andujar's status (shoulder) is still in question. Boone told reporters that he continues his program, which saw an increase in throwing as well as his normal hitting. While Andujar seems to be responding well to the treatment -- he hasn't had a setback -- it is still too early to make the determination for surgery to repair the shoulder tear or not. 

Other than Andujar, Aaron Hicks and Troy Tulowitzki appear to be progressing nicely. Hicks hit off a tee and soft toss as well as throwing and running before the game. He should be taking part in batting practice on Wednesday or Thursday. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Greg Bird, Miguel Andujar, troy-tulowitzki
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Mar 30, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees third baseman DJ LeMahieu (26) hits a double during the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
Mar 30, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees third baseman DJ LeMahieu (26) hits a double during the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

The Yankees (6-9, 5.5 games behind the Rays for first place in the AL East) face their archrival Red Sox (6-11, 6.5 games behind Tampa Bay) for the first time this season at Yankee Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. 

Yankees Notes

The Yankees snapped have lost four of their last five games. ... Since the start of 2013, the Yankees and Red Sox are 57-57 against each other. ... Tuesday's game will mark the first time since 1992 both teams will play each other with a losing record at least 15 games into a season. ... DJ LeMahieu leads off for the second straight game. He was 0-for-4 in the top spot of the order Sunday against the White Sox. ... Aaron Judge has hit safely in five of his last six games. 

Tags: Boston Red Sox
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Oct 9, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) hits a single during the fifth inning in game four of the 2018 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Oct 9, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) hits a single during the fifth inning in game four of the 2018 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The schedule makers snuck in an early Yankees/Red Sox series, searching for a narrative among teams expected to be sitting at the top of the American League East standings. Instead, the clash is being described as one to determine which club will utilize the series to turn its season around.

The Yankees (6-9) have battled a slew of injuries that leaves almost a complete -- and quality -- ball club on the injured list. Despite the injuries, the Yanks have held the lead in 14 of its 15 games, meaning there is clear underperformance buried in the squad's record.

The Red Sox (6-11), coming off a World Series title, are caught in the often traditional throes of the impact of a long postseason at the outset of a new year. The Sox are mostly healthy, but the club has had a difficult time getting fully on track. As both teams look to reverse course, which areas can the clubs expect improvement in and which aspects might not get better?

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 (Reinhold Matay)
(Reinhold Matay)

With Greg Bird heading to the IL due to a plantar fascia tear, the Yankees have called up slugging lefty-hitting first baseman Mike Ford from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Here are three things to know about him...

He was crushing it in Triple-A, but is an 'old' prospect

Ford was hitting .410/.467/.897 with five homers and four doubles in 10 games (45 plate appearances) this season in Triple-A. And while those numbers are incredibly impressive Ford -- at 26 years old -- is an "old" prospect.

His 2019 performance is also an aberration compared to how he's performed during his minor league career. In seven minor league seasons, Ford has hit .271/.372/.442 with 71 homers in 561 games.  

Tags: Luke Voit, Danny Abriano
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Mar 31, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird (33) reacts after being called out on strikes during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Mar 31, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird (33) reacts after being called out on strikes during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

The injury bug has bitten the Yankees once again. 

The team placed Greg Bird on the 10-day injured list Tuesday with a left plantar fascia tear. The Yankees called up Mike Ford from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take Bird's roster spot. 

Bird, who broke camp with the team after a strong Spring Training, had not been making the most of his opportunity in the big leagues. Following a solo homer on Opening Day, which accounted for his lone RBI through 10 games and 35 at-bats, Bird managed five more hits -- all singles. 

Tags: Dellin Betances, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Greg Bird, Luis Severino, Miguel Andujar
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Oct 9, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Luke Voit (45) forces out Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts (50) during the first inning in game four of the 2018 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Oct 9, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Luke Voit (45) forces out Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts (50) during the first inning in game four of the 2018 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Misery loves company, and the Red Sox will be a welcome sight for the Yankees in the Bronx.

Because this quick two-game series represents an opportunity for the Yanks to get back on track as both clubs have been mired in poor starts, and after these two teams met in the ALDS last season, nobody would've predicted their first meeting of the 2019 season would be under these circumstances.

Tags: James Paxton, Boston Red Sox
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Mar 23, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Gio Gonzalez (43) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Mar 23, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Gio Gonzalez (43) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Gio Gonzalez has a decision to make this week.

There is an April 20 opt-out in the minor deal deal Gonzalez signed with the Yankees last month, giving him the chance to return to free agency if he hasn't been called up to the majors by Saturday.

"Right now, I'm not even thinking 30 teams," Gonzalez recently told the New York Post. "If it's not good enough for this team that I'm with right now, that's all that matters. I want to perform for the team that has me in their minors right now. Hopefully something happens."

Tags: CC Sabathia, Domingo German, Luis Severino
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Feb 13, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Albert Abreu (87) throws as pitchers and catchers report for spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 13, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Albert Abreu (87) throws as pitchers and catchers report for spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Every Monday, we'll be taking a look at how the Yankees' top prospects (their MLB.com Yankees Top-30 rankings are in parenthesis) are faring.

Jonathan Loaisiga, SP, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (No. 2) - 2019

Loaisiga, who is ranked No. 64 among all MLB prospects per MLB Pipeline, just returned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after a brief stint with the Yankees. The 24-year-old made two starts with the Yanks, allowing two runs in 7.0 innings. With the Yankees' multiple health issues in the rotation, it will not be surprising to see Loaisiga once again in the Bronx. Until then, he will work with SWB with the concentration being to build up innings -- something he has yet to do in a professional season (68.2 innings is a career high that he set back in 2013).

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New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone watches the game from the dugout against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park. (Erik Williams/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone watches the game from the dugout against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park. (Erik Williams/USA TODAY Sports)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Maybe the pomp of the first series with the Red Sox this season is just the tonic the lackluster Yankees need in what's been a blah start to their season. 

Nothing like a visit from a bitter rival to jolt a club. And make no mistake: The Yankees need a jolt. Badly. 

Tags: CC Sabathia, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Anthony McCarron
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New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka walks off the mound after being relieved during the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka walks off the mound after being relieved during the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka attributed his struggles in Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox to his ineffective split-finger fastball.

"It wasn't coming out of my hand right," Tanaka said, according to the New York Post's Zach Braziller. "It's not just today, it's been like that for a little bit. I think it comes down to mechanics. I definitely need to make some adjustments, so it's an effective pitch."

Tags: Aaron Judge, Chicago White Sox, Masahiro Tanaka
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Yanks come up short in loss 00:01:46
The Yankees struggles continued as they were beaten by the White Sox, 5-2, but the team remains confident they will turn things around

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

The Yankees lost the series rubber match to the White Sox, 5-2, at Yankee Stadium. >> Box score

Five takeaways from Sunday's game…

1) Masahiro Tanaka was cruising … and then he wasn't. Tanaka had six strikeouts and faced just 10 batters in the first three innings. In the next inning-plus, Tanaka allowed eight baserunners, including three uncharacteristic walks. Tanaka was charged with five runs, four of which came on a Tim Anderson grand slam. Tanaka was fantastic over his first three starts, so hopefully this was a simple bump in the road as the Yanks need the right-hander on top of his game.

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Winter is here.

With Game of Thrones set to return Sunday for its eighth and final season, New York athletes gave their predictions and talked about theories for how the saga will end.

Click below...

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New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks at bat against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks at bat against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

For Aaron Hicks, the good news is that he's resumed limited baseball activities. The bad news is that exactly when he'll return to game action still appears foggy. 

Hicks has begun throwing, running, hitting off a tee and taking soft-tosses. Prior to the Yankees' game against the White Sox on Sunday, he stopped by the clubhouse so the team could see him up close.

He also guessed that he could begin taking on-field batting practice in about a week. Hicks has been out since Spring Training with a back issue that led to a pair of cortisone shots. Beyond the possibility of batting practice, a timetable for Hicks' return remains unknown. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks
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Apr 10, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports (Erik Williams)
Apr 10, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports (Erik Williams)

James Paxton was hit hard against the Astros during his last start, allowing five runs on eight hits (including two home runs to Jose Altuve) and three walks as his ERA for the season rose to 6.00.

Paxton, who threw 95 pitches in just 4.0 innings, revealed Sunday what was likely part of the reason why he struggled to get outs.

The left-hander told reporters that he was tipping his pitches against the Astros -- specifically his knuckle curve and specifically when runners were on second base, with Astros runners relaying the info to the hitters. 

Tags: James Paxton, Danny Abriano
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Mar 25, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) looks on from the dugout against the Washington Nationals before the game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Mar 25, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) looks on from the dugout against the Washington Nationals before the game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

As the Yankees deal with an injured list as long as a CVS receipt, any shred of good news is welcome.

So there is a glimmer of optimism regarding Giancarlo Stanton, who went on the injured list on April 1 with a biceps strain. After hitting off a tee and soft toss on Saturday for the second time, Stanton said, "I think I'm on track."

"Didn't take 100 percent swings, but I took good progress swings," Stanton said Saturday, according to the Daily News.

Tags: Giancarlo Stanton
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Mar 28, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Mar 28, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Yankees (6-8, 4.5 games behind the Rays for first place in the AL East) wrap up their series with the White Sox (4-9) at Yankee Stadium on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

Yankees Notes

The Yankees snapped their four-game losing streak on Saturday. ... Masahiro Tanaka, who gets the start on Sunday, has allowed one run in each of his first three starts this season. ... Aaron Judge, who homered on Saturday, is on pace to finish the season with 46 homers and 243 strikeouts. 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Chicago White Sox, Masahiro Tanaka
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CC leads Yanks past ChiSox 00:01:31
CC Sabathia pitched 5 strong innings in his season debut and Aaron Judge added a solo home run as the Yankees blanked the White Sox, 4-0

The Yankees beat the White Sox, 4-0, on Saturday afternoon in the Bronx >> Box score

Six takeaways from Saturday's game…

1) CC Sabathia, coming off the injured list to make his first start of the season, was spectacular. In five innings, Sabathia allowed just one base runner (on a single) and struck out three. Sabathia, who will be retiring at season's end, is now 11 strikeouts away from 3,000 for his career, which should aid his bid to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Before we concern ourselves with Sabathia's career worth, right now the Yanks can use some of the stopper stuff he's possessed the last couple of seasons. He provided it Saturday.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, CC Sabathia, Chicago White Sox, Dellin Betances, Domingo German, Chris Carelli
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Feb 18, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances (68) throws to first base during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports (Butch Dill)
Feb 18, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances (68) throws to first base during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports (Butch Dill)

Injured Yankees reliever Dellin Betances (shoulder impingement) isn't expected to return to the team until at least six or seven weeks from now, but he felt relieved on Saturday after receiving a cortisone shot. 

"There's relief just because there's nothing structurally wrong," Betances said, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. "I know with this shot that in three weeks, with rest, I know everything will be right and I'm excited to help the team out and finish this season."

Seven weeks from this point brings us to the early part of June, when the Yankees hope to have many of their other walking wounded back, including Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, and Troy Tulowitzki. Miguel Andujar could also be back before then if he is able to avoid season-ending surgery

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Dellin Betances, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar, Danny Abriano
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CC Sabathia (52) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
CC Sabathia (52) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Yankees (5-8) host the White Sox (4-8) at Yankee Stadium on Saturday at 1:05 p.m.

Yankees Notes

The depleted Yankees have lost four games in a row to fall 5.5 games behind the Rays for first place in the AL East. ... CC Sabathia returns from the DL to make his first start of the season. ... Aaron Judge has struck out four times over his last two games and is on pace to strike out 249 times this season. 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, Chicago White Sox, Clint Frazier, Domingo German, Gleyber Torres, Greg Bird, Kyle Higashioka, Tyler Wade
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Cashman updates Betances injury 00:01:09
New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman details the timeline reliever Dellin Betances will be on after his latest procedure.

Brian Cashman provided an update on Dellin Betances Friday night, and it wasn't a positive one.

Betances will get a cortisone shot in his shoulder on Saturday and will be shut down for three weeks, meaning he won't be able to return to the Yankees' active roster for six-to-seven weeks. 

The shot will be where there's inflammation around a pre-existing bone spur. Betances returned to New York after struggling during a simulated game on Thursday. Cashman said their team physician is optimistic that the injection will resolve the issue.

Tags: Dellin Betances
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Apr 12, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher J.A. Happ (34) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Apr 12, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher J.A. Happ (34) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

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

The Yankees lost to the White Sox, 9-6, in a rain-shortened affair at Yankee Stadium. The Yanks have lost four straight. >> Box Score

Five takeaways from Friday's game…

1 ) What's happening (get it?) to J.A. Happ is clearly not what the Yankees were expecting when they signed the 36-year-old to a two-year deal (with a vesting option). Happ was handed a 4-1 lead, yet he allowed base runners in each inning and yet another home run. Happ's line - 4 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 2 BB and 5 K was horrendous as is his 6.19 ERA for the season. Happ is simply leaving too many pitchers over the heart of the plate and hitters are not missing them.

Tags: Chicago White Sox, Greg Bird, J.A. Happ, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees' Miguel Andujar hits a fielder's choice ground ball in the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles. (AP)
New York Yankees' Miguel Andujar hits a fielder's choice ground ball in the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles. (AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Miguel Andujar swung a bat on Friday for the first time since doctors diagnosed him with a torn labrum earlier this month, and declared himself a fully healthy hitter. The problem with his injured shoulder is that it prevents him from making the throw from third to first base.

Here's a suggestion for the terribly depleted Yankees: Throw a band-aid on this makeshift lineup, and use Andujar as a DH or first baseman in the short term in order to get his bat back.

Tags: Giancarlo Stanton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Miguel Andujar, troy-tulowitzki, Andy Martino
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New York Yankees starting pitcher J.A. Happ delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees starting pitcher J.A. Happ delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

The injury-riddled Yankees return home to begin a nine-game home stand Friday night when they host the White Sox at 7:05 p.m.

Yankees Notes

Gary Sanchez officially went on the injured list with a left calf strain after Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Jay Bell revealed Thursday night that catcher Kyle Higashioka was going to New York. Austin Romine starts behind the plate. ... J.A. Happ tries to stop the bleeding for the Yanks, who were swept in Houston. ... DJ LeMahieu shifts back to second base with Gio Urshela at third and Tyler Wade on the bench.

Tags: Chicago White Sox, Gary Sanchez, J.A. Happ, Kyle Higashioka
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Feb 18, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances (68) throws to first base during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports (Butch Dill)
Feb 18, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances (68) throws to first base during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports (Butch Dill)

The Yankees just can't seem to catch a break, as RHP Dellin Betances received another MRI in New York on Friday, manager Aaron Boone said before Friday's game against the White Sox. 

Betances is one of 12 players on the Yankees' IL, with Gary Sanchez the latest member on the list with a calf strain. The hard-throwing reliever didn't start the season with the team, as an earlier MRI revealed a shoulder impingement and inflammation. But, after the 31-year-old didn't feel great during his sim game according to Boone, the team wants to see what the issue is now. 

After his sim game, Betances was expected to throw in rehab games, the last step before returning to the Yankees' bullpen. Now the Yankees will hold their breath hoping they won't be losing the four-time All-Star for an extended period of time. 

Tags: Dellin Betances
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Feb 14, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) works out at batting practice during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 14, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) works out at batting practice during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

With news that Gary Sanchez was placed on the 10-day injured list on Friday, the Yankees now have a major-league leading 12 players on the IL. 

The list consists of seven position players and five pitchers, although CC Sabathia will return to the team on Saturday, but it is still half the roster that is sidelined. 

Just how significant are the players missing time with injury?

Tags: Aaron Hicks, CC Sabathia, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar
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Apr 9, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Gary Sanchez (24) drives in two runs with an RBI double during the sixth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)
Apr 9, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Gary Sanchez (24) drives in two runs with an RBI double during the sixth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)

Another one bites the dust. 

Gary Sanchez was placed on the 10-day injured list on Friday with a left calf strain, making him the 12th Yankees player to go on the IL since the start of the season. 

The hot-hitting catcher was not in the lineup on Wednesday to rest the calf but did make a pinch-hit appearance where he struck out. 

Tags: Gary Sanchez
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New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez hits a two-run home run in the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. (Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez hits a two-run home run in the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. (Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports)

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso and Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez rank 1-2 for the MLB lead with total barrels hit.

But how important of a metric is that?

Tags: Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Pete Alonso, Matt Eisenberg
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 (Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports)
(Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports)

The Staten Island Yankees' recent partnership with a locally-owned and operated Chick-fil-A has received backlash from the borough's LGBTQ community. 

The Pride Center of Staten Island ended all communication with the team and publicly called for a boycott of the Yankees' minor-league affiliate after partnering with the Atlanta-based chicken franchise that has infamously supported anti-LGBTQ groups. 

Staten Island Yankees President and Operating Partner Will Smith issued a statement on Friday reiterating the team's support of the LGBTQ community as well as detailing their attempt to speak with the Pride Center of Staten Island. 

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Mar 3, 2019; Dunedin, FL, USA; New York Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka (66) at Dunedin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Mar 3, 2019; Dunedin, FL, USA; New York Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka (66) at Dunedin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

This might isn't a good sign regarding the status of Gary Sanchez.

The Yankees are calling up catcher Kyle Higashioka from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Scranton manager Jay Bell said Thursday night, according to the Times-Tribune's Conor Foley.

Sanchez was the designated hitter on Tuesday and did not start on Wednesday because of tightness in both legs. Sanchez pinch-hit in the eighth inning Wednesday and struck out. 

Tags: Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez, Kyle Higashioka
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Apr 10, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17) watches the game from the dugout against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports  (Erik Williams)
Apr 10, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17) watches the game from the dugout against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports (Erik Williams)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

If any Yankee fans were looking for Aaron Boone to call out his team or turn over a food table after the Houston Astros completed their sweep on Wednesday, they were once again disappointed by the even-tempered manager.

And as unsatisfying as it might be for a bloodthirsty public, Boone was exactly right, both in style and substance, when he said the following:

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Domingo German, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Luke Voit, Miguel Andujar, Andy Martino
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Apr 6, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) hits a two run home run during the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Apr 6, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) hits a two run home run during the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

When it comes to barrel per batted ball percentage -- which measures exit velocity and launch angle -- the Yankees lead the majors, while the Mets are second.

The full leaderboard is below:

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Trainers examine New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez after he was injured playing against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning at Minute Maid Park. (Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports)
Trainers examine New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez after he was injured playing against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning at Minute Maid Park. (Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees are giving catcher Gary Sanchez as much rest as he needs so he avoids a significant trip to the injured list like last season.

Sanchez, who was a designated hitter on Tuesday and pinch hit Wednesday, has been dealing with tightness in his legs for the past few days. This injury is not related to him taking a foul tip in the groin in Monday's game, however manager Aaron Boone said he would rather play it safe, especially with the Yankees off Thursday.

"With the off day [Thursday] and having a lot of guys down it is probably best to try and grab a couple of days here while we can," Boone said, according to the New York Post's George A. King III. "Just trying to be proactive. I want to make sure we are being smart about this and do all we can to keep him healthy. Making sure this doesn't become an issue."

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar, Tyler Wade
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Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports)
Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees (5-7, tied for second place in AL East, 4.5 games behind the Rays) are off on Thursday before opening a three-game series against the White Sox on Friday at Yankee Stadium.

Here's what went down on Wednesday, in case you missed it...


During the Yankees' loss to the Astros, James Paxton made John Smoltz' recent prediction look bad >> Read more from John Harper...

Tags: Dellin Betances, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Danny Abriano
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Apr 4, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; New York Yankees pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports (Mitch Stringer)
Apr 4, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; New York Yankees pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports (Mitch Stringer)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

While predicting greatness for James Paxton in the Bronx, John Smoltz offered high praise that Yankee fans actually might find insulting on Wednesday.

Paxton failed to get out of the fifth inning against the Astros on Wednesday night in Houston, in what was his first big start for his new team. And Smoltz' comments came hours before the lefty gave up five runs in 4.1 innings, as the Astros completed a three-game sweep of the Yankees.

Tags: James Paxton, John Harper
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Apr 10, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports (Erik Williams)
Apr 10, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports (Erik Williams)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV  Twitter | About Me | Archives: The Yankees lose to the Astros, 8-6, and are swept out of Minute Maid Ballpark. >> Box Score

Five takeaways from Wednesday's game…

1 ) The Yankees need James Paxton to be a stopper. He couldn't quell the bleeding tonight. Paxton's ERA on the season rose to 6.00 after allowing five runs on eight hits (including two home runs to Jose Altuve) and three walks. He labored through 95 pitches in just four innings of work. Simply put, Paxton has to better. He was brought in to sit atop the rotation and carry the club to the postseason. So far, Paxton has failed to live up to expectations.

Tags: Houston Astros, James Paxton, Luke Voit, Tommy Kahnle, Chris Carelli
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Apr 9, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Gary Sanchez (24) drives in two runs with an RBI double during the sixth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)
Apr 9, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Gary Sanchez (24) drives in two runs with an RBI double during the sixth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)

The Yankees try to avoid getting swept as they take on the Astros in Houston at 7:40 p.m.

Yankees Notes

Gary Sanchez, who's off to a hot start with six home runs, is out of the lineup with tightness in his legs. He should be available to pinch-hit if needed. Austin Romine will start behind the plate. ... Greg Bird returns to the lineup at first base while Luke Voit moves back to DH. ... James Paxton makes his third start with the Yankees.

Tags: Gary Sanchez, Houston Astros
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

The Yankees remain the most valuable franchise in MLB, according to Forbes' latest valuations.

At $4.6 billion, the Yankees are worth $1.3 billion more than the second-most valuable team, the Dodgers. The valuation is up 15 percent from last year when the Yanks were worth $4 billion.

The Red Sox ($3.2 billion,) Cubs ($3.1 billion) and Giants ($3 billion) round out the top five, with the Mets next at $2.3 billion.

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