James Paxton had lower back surgery in early February and two rough outings since the season got underway. Following Sunday night’s game against the Red Sox in which the lefty gave up five runs (three earned) and seven hits in three innings, Paxton said he was “concerned’’ about a dip in velocity.
Aaron Boone said the problem isn’t related to the pitcher’s health.
“I am pretty confident it is not physical. I feel like he is healthy’’ Boone said of Paxton, who didn’t make it out of the second inning in his first start against the Nationals. “We do feel like physically he is sound. All the behind-the-scenes tests we do as far as measuring strength and output and everything it is very similar to what it has been his entire career.’’
Even before hitters finished with an MLB record 6,776 homers last year there was talk the baseball would change this season. That, according to J.A. Happ’s eyes, hasn’t happened.
“It doesn’t seem like, it seems like we are dealing with the same baseball,’’ said Happ, who had been scheduled to start Tuesday against the Phillies before that game was postponed. “I didn’t feel a difference over the last couple of years. I just saw a difference. The baseball in my hand I am not feeling much change.’’
Happ, 37, is in his 14th big-league season and gave up a career-high 34 homers in 2019 which was seven more than he allowed in 2018. This year the lefty has given up two homers in four innings during his only start Thursday against the Orioles.
Left-handed hitters Tyler Wade and Mike Ford were in the Yankees’ lineup at short and first base, respectively, against Phillies right-hander Jake Arrieta.
According to Boone, regular shortstop Gleyber Torres was getting a day off and was OK physically. As for Mike Ford, the manager was looking for more punch from the left side.
“Just wanted to get another lefty in there,’’ said Boone, who started Ford at first for the second time.
Aroldis Chapman went to the Yankees’ satellite camp in Scranton on Monday.
“I believe he is throwing [Monday] and I think he is scheduled [for] his first bullpen [Tuesday] or Wednesday,’’ Boone said.
Per MLB’s protocol rules players Chapman had to go to Scranton.
“In-season returning from the [coronavirus] you have to do your rehab there,’’ Boone said.
According to Luis Cessa the Yankees assigned to the satellite camp in Scranton have two things on their mind: staying safe and rejoining the big-league club.
Cessa, who is on the COVID-19 injured list after testing positive before the start of spring training 2.0 and then having two tests come back negative, is throwing at the Yankees’ Triple-A facility.
“Right now the key is to stay safe. Everybody has their distance. We use both clubhouses. We use the mask all the time and we work in groups of 10,’’ the right-hander said via Zoom on Monday. “Right now the key is to try and stay safe.’’
Near the end of spring training 2.0 those who didn’t get put on the 30-man big-league roster reported to Scranton. And with no minor league games the pitchers have faced hitters.
One of the familiar faces Cessa has pitched to is Clint Frazier.
“I faced [Frazier] a couple of times. We face all the guys and he looks good. I think he looks ready,’’ said Cessa, who has thrown three live sessions. “Everybody here is waiting for the opportunity to come back [to the Yankees]. I think Clint looks good.’’
When Cessa was cleared to begin working out he was fatigued for the first few days. But after that he said the post-workout tiredness left his body and he felt much better.
As for a timetable to return to the Yankees, Cessa is waiting for the call after his last outing two days ago consisted of 40 pitches.
“[Pitching coach]Matt [Blake], Cash and Boone are making a decision right now. I am just waiting,’’ Cessa said. “I am just waiting for the decision and stay healthy and be ready.’’
Boone said “I would expect that to be pretty soon’’ when asked if Cessa would join the Yankees soon.
Following Monday night’s 6-3 win over the Phillies the Yankees optioned Brooks Kriske to their satellite camp. That likely clears the way for Cessa’s return.
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