Yankees’ Happ returns to face Rangers

After missing a turn at Boston due to hand, foot and mouth disease, the left-handed veteran Happ is scheduled to start against the Texas Rangers on Thursday, as the Yanks begin an 11-game homestand.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone is careful to “protect our (relievers) from overuse in high-leverage situations,’’ he said. “But that’s where our starting pitching plays a huge role in this.’’

Happ came over in a July 26 trade with Toronto for infielder Brandon Drury and minor league outfielder Billy McKinney. He pitched six crisp innings in a win against Kansas City in his New York debut, but the illness took him out of a critical four-game series in Boston, where the Yankees were swept by the major league-leading Red Sox.
Happ, who turns 36 in October, is 11-6 with a 4.05 ERA in 21 starts this year.

Happ is fully recovered from the same disease that afflicted New York Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard recently and is expected to pitch Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series with the Texas Rangers.

“Good news. He is out of the woods virus-wise and not contagious,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Monday, two days after Happ was supposed to start in Boston.

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Happ will be making his second start for the Yankees under unique circumstances. When he made his debut, he flew in from Chicago the previous day after being delayed by weather.

This time, Happ will be starting after spending the last week in New York recovering from a disease known mostly for afflicting children.

The Yankees used rookie Chance Adams in Happ’s place last week, and he allowed three runs in five innings in a 4-1 loss.

Meanwhile, Happ is hoping to pick up where he left off from his debut with his sixth team when he averaged 92.9 mph on 64 four-seam fastballs.

“You definitely want to have good results,” Happ said after his Yankee debut. “They traded for you. There’s some pressure in that.”

Happ last faced the Rangers when he allowed two runs and five hits and struck out nine in seven innings in Toronto on April 29. He is 4-2 with a 2.97 ERA in six career starts against Texas.

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