Yankees manager Joe Girardi got defensive Wednesday in explaining to reporters why he chose not to start soon-to-be released designated hitter Alex Rodriguez in either of the first two games of the team’s series in Boston, writes Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. “I’m putting out what I feel is the best lineup as we sit around and talk about it as coaches. That’s my job. That’s in my job description. My job description does not entail a farewell tour,” said Girardi, who was the Yankees’ manager during shortstop Derek Jeter’s season-long farewell tour in 2014. Despite hitting a paltry .256/.304/.313 with four home runs in 634 plate appearances that year, Jeter was a mainstay atop the Yankees’ lineup, which reporters pointed out Wednesday. In response, Girardi stated, “I didn’t really have a replacement, in a sense. This year, we have people that we want to try. We have replacements, and that’s the biggest difference.” The Yankees, who are amid a youth movement, started highly touted catcher prospect Gary Sanchez at DH on Wednesday. Rodriguez entered the game with a pinch-hit appearance in the seventh inning and flied out to right field, dropping his season batting line to .203/.251/.355. The 41-year-old will conclude his polarizing and productive Yankees career with starts on Thursday and Friday.
More on the Bombers:
- Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi exited his Wednesday start with inflammation in his pitching elbow after just one inning, Kuty was among those to report. Eovaldi will undergo tests in New York to determine the severity of the injury, and he and the Yankees are obviously hoping it won’t require Tommy John surgery. Eovaldi underwent the procedure as a high schooler, per Kuty, who also notes that right elbow inflammation kept the hard-throwing 26-year-old out for the final month of the 2015 season. Despite trailing only Mets ace Noah Syndergaard in average four-seam fastball velocity, Eovaldi has recorded a 5.12 ERA to pair with an underwhelming K/9 (7.11) in 116 innings as a starter this season.
- After an ineffective Tuesday start, one in which he surrendered five earned runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings in a 5-3 loss to Boston, the Yankees sent right-hander Luis Severino back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Severino, 22, has been among the Yankees’ biggest letdowns last year, having compiled a 7.78 ERA, 6.93 K/9 and 2.34 BB/9 in 39 1/3 innings as a starter. While Severino has limited walks and thrown heat, his ERA as a starter is nearly five runs worse than it was last year (2.89) across his 62 1/3-inning debut, and his strikeout rate has experienced a notable drop from the 8.09 he recorded in 2015. To his credit, Severino has fared well in 63 2/3 Triple-A innings (3.25 ERA, 8.06 K/9, 2.12 BB/9).