Tagged in: Yankees

New York Yankees first-base coach Reggie Willits becomes fourth not to return to Aaron Boone’s staff

There’s another hole to fill on Aaron Boone’s coaching staff.

First-base coach and outfielder instructor Reggie Willits is leaving the Yankees to become a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma, his alma mater, the team revealed Thursday.

Willits becomes the latest departure from Boone’s staff after the Yankees did not renew the contracts of third-base coach Phil Nevin and hitting coaches Marcus Thames and P.J. Pilittere.

“I want to thank Brian Cashman, Aaron Boone and the Steinbrenner family for the opportunity to work for such a world-class organization,” Willits said in a statement.

“I’ve cherished my time with the Yankees and I’ve grown professionally and personally because of the bonds that I’ve formed with so many players, coaches and staff.”

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“It’s been a challenging personal decision to make. I’m leaving a team and organization I’ve loved being a part of, but I’m returning home to be closer to my family and to work for a program I have deep ties to and great respect for.”

The Yankees stated Willits will stay with the organization until the end of December, when his contract expires, before officially joining the Sooners in January.

Two of Willits’ sons, Jaxon and Eli, are committed to play baseball at Oklahoma.

The 40-year-old Willits, an Oklahoma native, has been with the Yankees since 2015 — first as a minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator before becoming the first-base coach/outfield instructor in 2018.

He was credited with helping Clint Frazier become a Gold Glove finalist in right field in 2020 and also worked with Giancarlo Stanton in returning to the outfield this season.

Willits was also the Yankees’ baserunning coach, overseeing a unit that ran into 50 outs on the bases this season — the eighth most in the majors.

Boone, who earlier this week signed a new three-year contract with a club option for the fourth year, and GM Brian Cashman will now be looking for at least four new coaches this offseason.

Bench coach Carlos Mendoza, pitching coach Matt Blake, bullpen coach Mike Harkey and quality control and catching coach Tanner Swanson are currently still on the staff.

Gerrit Cole was named a finalist for the MLB Players Association’s American League Outstanding Pitcher award. The other finalists are Blue Jays lefty Robbie Ray and White Sox right-hander Lance Lynn — potentially foreshadowing the favorites for the AL Cy Young race.

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Boston Red Sox’s J.D. Martinez getting treatment on ankle; Gio Urshela good to go for New York Yankees

Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez remains a question for the team’s American League Wild Card Game versus the visiting New York Yankees on Tuesday night at Fenway Park as he continues to recover from a sprained left ankle.

Martinez suffered the injury in the fifth inning when he tripped over the second-base bag while jogging out to right field in Boston’s regular-season finale Sunday versus the host Washington Nationals. He was pulled from the game — a 7-5 Red Sox victory — an inning later.

Speaking Monday at Fenway, Red Sox manager Alex Cora stated Martinez continues to receive treatment on the ankle and that the team will make a roster decision Tuesday morning.

“He’s getting treatment,” Cora told reporters. “We’ll probably have to make a decision tomorrow morning roster-wise, of course, and let’s see how he reacts to treatment and everything that they are doing to him in there. We don’t know yet.”

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Cora also said outfielder Jarren Duran will likely make the wild-card roster, giving Boston a potential speed option on the basepaths, as will Nick Pivetta, who threw an inning of scoreless relief against the Nationals on Sunday. 

Chris Sale, who started that game in D.C., is unlikely to be on the roster, per Cora.

“He actually threw today. He felt good. He stopped by the office and [I was] like, ‘No, we’re not doing that,'” Cora said. “Hopefully he has a chance to start again here in October.”

The Yankees, meanwhile, expect Gio Urshela to be in the lineup Tuesday. Urshela bruised his right thigh and suffered some cuts when he made a diving catch in the Tampa Bay dugout in the teams’ regular-season finale Sunday, a massive play that helped New York en route to a walk-off 1-0 win that clinched its wild-card spot.

“I think we got incredibly fortunate in that situation,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters. “As you know, it really scared me watching him launch into there from my angle. He might be a little stiff or whatever. But I don’t think it’ll have much impact.”

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole (16-8) faces Nathan Eovaldi (11-9) at Fenway. The Yankees-Red Sox winner will move on to face the AL East champion Tampa Bay Rays starting Thursday in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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Two-time All-Star Luis Severino returns to New York Yankees, works two innings in 7-1 victory

Luis Severino took the mound in a major-league game for the first time since the 2019 American League Championship Series on Tuesday.

The two-time All-Star, who has battled myriad injuries since re-signing with the Yankees, entered in the unfamiliar role of reliever, working the final two innings of New York’s 7-1 victory over the Texas Rangers.

“Proud moment for him and for his teammates and for all of us who have seen him go through a lot,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone stated. “He’s battled different things, and has worked his tail off to get to this moment.”

He worked a quick eighth, authoring two strikeouts and a groundout to go along with a double. In the ninth, he permitted a single before ending it with a double play and a flyout.

“I was feeling a lot of different emotions. But I’m happy to be back, happy to finally help the team,” Severino told the YES Network. “I knew after the first pitch, that it was going to come back to normal.”

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He concluded with 30 pitches, 19 of which were strikes.

“There’s got to be rust, nerves, all of that, going out there,” Boone said. “And I thought he executed, and hopefully this is a step forward for him to help us here down the stretch.”

Severino was activated before Monday’s 4-3 victory over the Rangers, with Boone clearly saying he wanted to start him out as a reliever. Where he goes from here, an optimistic Boone wouldn’t say.

“I’m not going to cap what that can be. We’ll see,” he said. “That’s a talented person and a great pitcher. I’m not going to limit what he’s capable of.”

Giancarlo Stanton hit his 31st home run in the victory, while Joey Gallo added his 38th and Aaron Judge launched his 36th as New York’s offense woke up. It indeed was a feel-good night in The Bronx, despite the fact that the Yankees did not gain any ground in the American League wild-card race.

“He felt great to be a part of it,” Boone said of Severino. “There was some emotion in his voice, and you can imagine the hard work he’s put in to get to this point. It was a good night for him.”

The 27-year-old right-hander had Tommy John surgery on Feb. 27, 2020. He made four minor league appearances totaling 10⅔ innings for Tampa, Hudson Valley and Somerset, permitting four runs, five hits and one home run with three walks and 15 strikeouts.

His rehabilitation was slowed when he injured his right groin on June 12 in his second minor league appearance for Hudson Valley at Brooklyn.

Severino returned to pitch for Somerset on Aug. 3 and Aug. 8, then was scratched from an Aug. 13 outing for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre because of shoulder tightness.

“The fans always help me, every time I’m out there, and I knew we scored seven runs,” Severino said. “So, I was pretty calm out there.”

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Gardner’s 2-run single in 9th lifts Yankees over Orioles 4-3

Brett Gardner blooped a two-run single in the ninth inning that was set up by a double steal, and the New York Yankees defeated the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 Wednesday night for their third consecutive win.

The Yankees kept pace with Toronto and Boston atop the AL wild-card standings as all three teams won.Austin Hays homered twice for the Orioles, including a two-out, two-run drive in the eighth off Chad Green for a 3-2 lead.

The homer came soon after second baseman Gleyber Torres knocked down a hard liner and instead of throwing to second to get the lead runner, tossed to first to put out Cedric Mullins.

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Orioles reliever Tyler Wells (2-3) walked Luke Voit to start the ninth and Torres followed with a single. Pinch-runner Tyler Wade and Torres pulled off a double steal with one out as it began to rain.

Gardner followed with a single to center that scored both runs, much to the delight of their fans that flocked to Camden Yards.

Wandy Peralta (5-3) earned the win and Aroldis Chapman got his 27th save.

Gio Urshela launched a two-run homrer into the left-center bleachers in the third. Urshela took over as the full-time shortstop this week for the error-prone Torres and had a diving catch off a hard liner by Austin Wynns for the final out in the fifth.

Mullins took a two-run homer away from Gary Sanchez in the second with a leaping grab over the center-field fence. Orioles starter John Means pointed to Mullins in celebration and Sanchez walked back to the dugout in disbelief.

Means had another effective outing and permitted two runs and four hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.

It was the fifth time this season the Orioles failed to score a run when Means was on the mound. Hays homered in the sixth and added his 20th of the season in the eighth.

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Stanton, Yankees win 10th straight, cool off Braves 5-1

Giancarlo Stanton homered and drove in three runs to carry the New York Yankees to their 10th consecutive victory, cooling off the streaking Atlanta Braves 5-1 on Monday night.

The Yankees snapped first-place Atlanta’s own nine-game winning streak in the first regular-season matchup in almost 120 years between teams that had won at least nine in a row.

Stanton homered in the second inning off Huascar Ynoa (4-3) and snapped a 1-all tie in the sixth with a two-out, two-run double.

Gary Sánchez gave New York some insurance with another two-out hit in the eighth, singling through the shift to bring home two more runs.

Jordan Montgomery (5-5) worked around four walks in his five-inning stint, limiting the Braves to two hits — including a homer by Dansby Swanson.

The Yankees’ bullpen took it from there. Jonathan Loaisiga pitched two scoreless innings, striking out four. Wandy Peralta worked around a couple of hits in the eighth and Aroldis Chapman finished off Atlanta with a 1-2-3 ninth.

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In the second, Stanton put the Yankees ahead with his 21st homer — going the opposite way with a 387-foot shot into the Chop House restaurant in right.

The Braves tied it in the bottom half with a long ball of their own.

Swanson launched a 408-foot drive into the Atlanta bullpen for his 25th homer of the campaign.

New York went ahead for good in the sixth, taking advantage of Ynoa’s only spurt of wildness.

After plunking DJ LeMahieu with a pitch, Ynoa retired the next two hitters before issuing his only walk of the night to Joey Gallo.

Stanton made the Atlanta pitcher pay, lining a one-hop double off the wall in left to bring home both runners.

Ynoa turned in another strong start in his second appearance since an extended stint on the injured list after hurting his right hand punching a wall in frustration. He permitted four hits, three runs and struck out nine over six innings.

Montgomery was backed up by a couple of stellar defensive plays, including a diving catch by Gallo down the left-field line to rob Guillermo Heredia of a hit in the second.

The game was played in a playoff-like atmosphere, with a near-sellout crowd of 39,176 in Atlanta and plenty of Yankees fans to spice things up.

It marked the first matchup between two teams this hot since Sept. 7, 1901, when the Pittsburgh Pirates took a 10-game winning streak into their contest against the Philadelphia Phillies, who had won nine in a row.

The Phillies won 4-1 for their 10th straight victory, but Pittsburgh went on to capture the NL pennant. The first World Series would not be held for two more years.

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New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone: Not sure whether Clint Frazier will play again amid vision issues

Yankees manager Aaron Boone isn’t clear that Clint Frazier will be able to play baseball again after the outfielder was pulled from a minor league rehab assignment Monday amid continuing issues with his vision.

“We’ll see,” Boone said when asked whether Frazier would play again. “Obviously he’s been through a lot and been through a lot of seeing a lot of people and a lot of testing and everything. We’ll just try and continue to follow and support him where we can. But as of right now, a little holding pattern. I know he feels well today, so we’ll just see.”

Frazier, 26, started a minor league rehab assignment last Tuesday after missing nearly six weeks due to dizziness and other symptoms consistent with vertigo. He went 4-for-10 over three games, but Boone stated Frazier felt unwell prior to Sunday’s game with Double-A Somerset and took himself out of the lineup.

Frazier was formally pulled from the rehab assignment Monday and transferred to the 60-day injured list. “Just didn’t feel like he was good enough to post,” Boone said before New York played the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.

“And so, decided to pull the plug, and we applaud him for making that decision.” Boone said before New York played the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. “And so, decided to pull the plug, and we applaud him for making that decision.”

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Frazier was placed on the injured list July 1 with what was initially called vertigo and later defined as a possible vision issue.

He missed nearly all of the 2018 season with lingering concussion symptoms, but it’s not clear whether his current concerns are related.

A 2013 first-round pick by Cleveland, Frazier hit well in 2019 but was banished to Triple-A for much of the season following several defensive miscues.

He finally cracked New York’s crowded outfield for regular playing time in 2020 and shined. He batted .267 with a .905 OPS and steadier defense in left and right field, earning an everyday role for the 2021 season.

The breakout has fizzled this year. Frazier hit .186 with five homers and a .633 OPS in 66 games before going on the IL.

Also Monday, right-hander Luis Severino (right shoulder tightness) had an MRI as planned. Boone said the team hoped to review the results before the end of the night.

Catcher Gary Sanchez (COVID-19 IL) hit on the field and could be activated Tuesday for a doubleheader versus the Boston Red Sox.

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New York Yankees place Gleyber Torres on injured list, expect star shortstop to miss 10-20 days

New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres was placed on the injured list Monday after an MRI revealed a left thumb sprain, the team revealed.

New York manager Aaron Boone, speaking before the Yankees opened a road series vs. the Kansas City Royals, said he understood the club received some “good news” in that he only expected Torres to be out 10-20 days.

The timing is not great for Torres, who had been heating up alongside his surging teammates. He went 3-for-4 in Sunday’s series finale vs. the Seattle Mariners, and has three home runs and 13 RBIs since the club returned from the All-Star break.

The Yankees lost Sunday to Seattle, 2-0, but took three of four in that series and had won eight of the last 10 headed into Monday’s game.

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“I think we were concerned that it was going to be more serious,” Boone said. “Realistically, we’ll have a better idea in the next couple of days. I think we were kind of expecting the worst.”

Boone also told reporters that Torres, who did not make the trip with the club to Kansas City, would soon see a specialist.

In the fourth inning on Sunday, Torres slid into second back on a steal attempt, injuring the finger. Boone said after the game that Torres’ condition worsened as the day went on.

New York is already without another mainstay on the left side of the infield, in third baseman Gio Urshela. He has a strained left hamstring, but took defensive drills and ran the bases on Sunday before the road trip. He could be activated on Wednesday.

It has been a puzzling year for Torres, like many Yankees, who have scuffled through most of the campaign. The two-time All-Star, who hit 38 home runs in 2019, has only six this season and didn’t hit his first until May 9.

The Yankees also optioned right-handed pitcher Luis Gil to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre while recalling right-handed pitcher Nick Nelson. To fill Torres’ roster spot, the club selected the contract of infielder Andrew Velasquez from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

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New York Yankees acquire All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo from Chicago Cubs

The New York Yankees obtained All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo from the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, it was revealed.

Right-handed pitcher Alexander Vizcaino and outfielder Kevin Alcantara, both minor leaguers, will head from New York to Chicago in the trade.

The Yankees also announced they acquired cash considerations from the Cubs but didn’t specify the amount. A source told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers that it is $5.5 million, which is the remaining balance of Rizzo’s $16.5 million salary this season.

Rizzo wasn’t in the lineup for the Cubs’ series finale versus the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday. The three-time All-Star is batting .248 with 14 home runs and 40 RBIs in 92 games this season.

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Rizzo, who will turn 32 on Aug. 8, can become a free agent after the season.

He has spent the past 10 seasons with Chicago. The slugger went over in a trade with the San Diego Padres in 2012 and is considered one of the iconic Cubs after helping break a 108-year championship drought in 2016.

The move to get Rizzo comes after New York also got All-Star outfielder Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers. Both Rizzo and Gallo are left-handed hitters, which the Yankees had sought to add to a lineup that was predominantly right-handed — not a good mix at Yankee Stadium with its short porch in right field.

New York started the day fourth in the American League wild-card chase for two spots and then lost 14-0 at Tampa Bay. The Yankees had been using a mix at first base this year with DJ LeMahieu getting a lot of time. 

Luke Voit led the majors in home runs last year during the pandemic-shortened season, but the big first baseman has been injured for much of the year.

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Ohtani’s 26th homer starts Angels past reeling Yankees 5-3

Shohei Ohtani pounded his hardest-hit home run of the season in another dismal first inning by Michael King, starting the New York Yankees to yet another distressing loss in a season overflowing with them.

“That definitely sent the message,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said after Los Angeles beat the troubled Yankees 5-3 on Monday night. “It was just the right way for him to start his trip to New York.”

Left-hander José Suarez pitched 5 1/3 innings of one-run relief against the heavily right-handed Yankees after Dylan Bundy threw up on the mound because of heat exhaustion.

Ohtani was 0 for 9 in his previous appearances at Yankee Stadium, all three years ago. The two-way sensation connected for a 117.2 mph drive to right on a hanging curveball from King (0-4) in a two-run first that also included Jared Walsh’s RBI double.

The home run was the ninth in 12 games and 26th this season for Ohtani, who is slated to pitch Wednesday night. He tied Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the major league lead, one ahead of San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr.

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New York, meanwhile, leads the league in is regrouping.

“We just haven’t showed up every night. A lot of spurts of it, but this game, these seasons, this uniform isn’t about spurts. It’s about showing up every night,” said Giancarlo Stanton, who hit his 14th home run in the sixth. “We’re just collectively as a group not performing the way we should.”

Suarez (3-1) entered in the second after Bundy permitted Gio Urshela’s tying home run and Miguel Andújar’s single. With sweat dripping off the bill of his cap, Bundy stepped back off the mound, bent over and vomited on the 90-degree night.

“He told me even after the first inning he did not feel that good but went out in the second and he knew he might get ill and he did. I mean, this guy is as tough as they come,” Maddon said. “He’s fine right now. Everything’s groovy.”

Suarez allowed two hits, struck out five and walked one in his longest big league outing in two years. He kept the Yankees off balance with 22 fastballs, 22 changeups, nine curveballs and three sinkers.

“He is looking like a major league starting pitcher,” Maddon said.

Steve Cishek pitched a one-hit eighth, and Raisel Iglesias struck out the side for his 14th save in 17 chances, helping Los Angeles win its second straight following a five-game skid.

New York lost three matches in Boston last weekend, getting swept for the third time in four weekends, and is on its fourth four-game losing streak this season.

“Our season’s on the line,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before the game. “Too many ups and downs, and we’re in too good a division to have those ups and downs. We can’t afford to play great for two weeks and struggle for a week — not if we’re going to make up ground. We’ve dug ourselves a little bit of a hole in the division. Obviously, the good news is we still are in complete control of the script.”

New York is in danger of falling out of contention before the All-Star break.

“We can throw out all the sayings. Talk is cheap. We got to go do it,” Boone said after the game.

King has a 15.00 ERA in the first inning of six starts and a 1.88 ERA over the rest of his outings.

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New York Yankees turn game-ending triple play vs. Oakland Athletics, tie MLB record

Yankees manager Aaron Boone knew it off the bat.

“Usually, a triple play sneaks up on you,” he said. “Right away, I’m thinking, ‘That’s a triple play.'”

New York turned its record-tying third triple play of the season to strand the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, bailing out closer Aroldis Chapman from a shaky outing and closing down a 2-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.

Gary Sanchez spoiled Sean Manaea’s gem with a go-ahead two-run double in the sixth inning, and relievers Jonathan Loaisiga (7-2) and Lucas Luetge turned a 2-1 lead over to Chapman in the ninth.

A day after reaching 103.4 mph during his 15th save — his fastest pitch on a strikeout since the 2017 AL wild-card game — Chapman walked Jed Lowrie and Chad Pinder on nine pitches, topping out at 98 mph.

He was visited by an athletic trainer because the nail in his left middle finger broke, but he stayed in the game to face Sean Murphy, who drilled the second pitch of the at-bat right at third baseman Gio Urshela.

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Urshela stepped on third and whizzed the ball to DJ LeMahieu, and the second baseman relayed to first baseman Chris Gittens to get Murphy by a step.

“You’re around long enough, you see everything,” longtime A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “I’ve never seen a game end like that before.”

New York also turned the first 1-3-6-2-5-6 triple play in major league history on Thursday at Buffalo, New York, versus the Toronto Blue Jays and also had an around-the-horn triple play on May 21 against the Chicago White Sox involving Urshela, second baseman Rougned Odor and first baseman Luke Voit.

The storied franchise had never turned more than one triple play in a season and tied a major league record for most in a season, a record shared by 11 other teams and last accomplished by the 2016 White Sox.

It’s the first game-ending triple play since 2009, when the Philadelphia Phillies turned one versus the New York Mets in an Aug. 23 contest, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Yankees’ triple plays have happened over 31 days, the shortest span ever for three by a big league team.

Chapman’s 16th save in 18 tries sent Oakland to its first road series loss this season after eight victories and a split. The A’s had just four hits.

Loaisiga cleaned up Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery’s jam in the sixth and covered 1⅔ scoreless innings, helping New York lock up its fifth win in six games — all when trailing after the fifth inning.

“It felt like a big series, coming off some really quality wins in Buffalo,” Boone said.

Manaea (6-3) struck out a career-high 11 and Matt Olson homered for Oakland, but the A’s dropped their second straight after ending a seven-game winning streak Saturday.

A two-time All-Star, Sanchez lost his starting job during last year’s postseason due to an extended slump, one that stretched into the start of 2021. He’s surged back to top form in June, entering Sunday hitting .294 with a 1.012 OPS this month. He has five homers in his past 10 games, and 11 of his past 17 hits have gone for extra bases.

“He’s on time,” Boone said. “He’s making really good decisions. Doesn’t mean you’re always going to get results, but it’s not an accident now that he’s getting really good results.”

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