A’s Complete Sweep of Yankees

OAKLAND, Calif. — Tanner Roark has been in Oakland long enough already to understand this winning vibe.

Roark is doing his part to keep the Athletics on a roll as the September stretch run approaches, striking out seven without walking a batter over six-plus innings in a 5-3 victory over the Yankees on Thursday night for a three-game series sweep.

“It shows what these guys in here in the clubhouse and all the coaches are all about,” Roark said. “We’re fighters and we’re not going to give in, we’re going to have fun, we’re going to do the small things great, get runs across the board and try to do our best to put up zeros.”

Mark Canha hit a two-run single as the A’s immediately jumped on Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka (9-7) on the way to a seventh victory in eight overall.

In less than a week, the A’s have taken down a pair of A.L. contenders impressively.

Oakland is on another of its familiar second-half surges, moving a season-best 21 games over .500 at 74-53 having won three of four against first-place Houston and then three straight over the A.L. East-leading Yankees.

“We can beat anybody. It’s just about bringing this game to the field every day and playing with confidence and doing all the little things well that we’re doing,” Canha said. “The fact that you keep looking at the scoreboard and the Rays keep winning, it just tells you we know we need to play well for five more weeks. There’s no letting up, obviously. This is going to be a dogfight.”

New York’s Gleyber Torres homered twice for his 30th and 31st of the year, a solo shot in the seventh and another in the ninth.

Oakland has won three of Roark’s four starts since he was acquired from Cincinnati. Roark (2-1) won his second straight decision and allowed two runs on seven hits in six and a third innings.

Torres also doubled and singled for the Yankees, who have lost nine of their last 10 and 21 of 28 in Oakland.

“Over the course of a long season you’re going to take one in the mouth, and we just got punched in the mouth right here in Oakland,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

Tanaka, making his team-leading 26th start and pitching on an extra day of rest, dug himself an early hole allowing Marcus Semien’s leadoff double in the first, then giving up a pair of walks before an RBI groundout by Matt Olson and Canha’s base hit.

Matt Chapman added an RBI single and Stephen Piscotty drove in a run on a groundout.

Tanaka allowed five runs over six innings, striking out five and walking two.

Joakim Soria surrendered Torres’s two-out drive but finished for his first save in five chances as Liam Hendriks got a break from the ninth inning after a five-out save Wednesday.

Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, out since June 26 with a sprained right knee, did agility work in right field after doing some light running Wednesday. The hope is he will take batting practice on the field sometime this road trip. Pitcher Luis Severino pitched two simulated innings at the team’s complex in Tampa, Fla., as he continues to work back from right rotator cuff inflammation with the goal of pitching in a big league game in September.

Pitcher David Hale (lower back strain) received a cortisone shot for a left knee problem, interrupting his rehab progress. Outfielder Brett Gardner was back in the lineup starting at center after he had an ingrown toenail removed Sunday that had bothered him all last week. He missed two games.

On Friday, James Paxton (9-6, 4.53 ERA) will start Friday at Dodger Stadium looking to win his fifth straight start, when Los Angeles counters with the 12-game winner Hyun-jin Ryu.

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This Yankees lineup is so much more than just Oriole killers

The Orioles pitching staff extends batting practice into games. They provide a Fantasy Island-like ambience to opposing lineups — dreams come true.

Gleyber Torres has enjoyed the hospitality most, with 13 homers in his first 16 games against the Orioles — or as many as Jackie Bradley Jr., Marwin Gonzalez and Adam Jones have all season.

Facing these Orioles warps reality and distorts statistics. The Yankees enter Tuesday collectively hitting .301 with a 1.031 OPS, averaging 8.06 runs for the first 17 games against Baltimore this season. The Yankees are 15-2 in those games, and if Yankee fans are looking for an uplifting comparison, this is akin to what the Red Sox did against the Orioles last year en route to a title.

Boston hit .295 with a .920 OPS, averaging 6.68 runs per game in amassing a 16-3 record against Baltimore in 2018. The Yanks went a very good 12-7 against those Orioles. But this was partially how the Red Sox created a gap to win the AL East despite the Yankees’ 100-victory season.

But for the Yankees, the reason to feel good about their offense is not tied up in bludgeoning one of the worst pitching staffs in history. It’s that this lineup has produced even after subtracting the Orioles.

The Yankees are averaging an MLB-best 5.96 runs per game. Remove Baltimore and the Yankees are at 5.61, which would still be third in the majors (thanks to Lee Sinins of MLB Network research).

The Yankees were averaging an outrageous 3.47 homers per game against the Orioles. It was 1.53 vs. all others, not far off the 1.65 last year when they set the major league homer record.

The latest report card for this batting order follows the Orioles, when the Yankees take a U-turn away from Fantasy Island. The next three series — 10 games — are against the Indians, A’s and Dodgers. Los Angeles led the majors in ERA by better than two-tenths of a run, the Indians were third and the A’s sixth. The Dodgers ranked second in surrendering the fewest homers per nine innings, the A’s were third and the Indians sixth.

The Indians, who are in the Bronx for four games over the weekend, had the best second-half ERA (2.89) in the majors. The Yanks’ nine-game West Coast trip has three at Dodger Stadium in the middle, where L.A. starters’ ERA was 2.54 — eight-tenths of a run better than any other rotation.

This will offer the Yankees a touch of October in August, another chance to gauge if their offense will handle a playoff season that distinctly will not include the Orioles. So far the Yankees lineup has handled all comers well. They had a streak of not being shut out of 202 games that stretches back to last season.

But for the Yankees, their distribution has been better this year than it was last season. Remember that if you score two runs and 10 runs, the average is six runs, but you are probably a .500 team because you lose most times you score two. In 2018, even while racking up those 100 wins, the Yanks were held to three runs or fewer 28.4 percent of the time. It was 23.3 percent this year.

Part of that reflects that run scoring is up this year overall. But the Yankees have just made themselves a tougher offense to hold down inning after inning for two reasons: 1) there are just no soft spots and 2) they have added batting average while not losing power.

The Yankees had 14 players with more than 160 plate appearances (no one else had more than 79). Of those 14, a dozen had an OPS-plus of 103 or better. Remarkably none were Miguel Andujar or Giancarlo Stanton, who tied for second in Yankee OPS-plus last year at 131 (minimum 160 plate appearances).

Among players with 325 plate appearances, two new Yankee additions, DJ LeMahieu (.338) and Gio Urshela (.332), ranked 1-2 in the AL in average (Urshela was 21 plate appearances shy of qualifying). The Yankee collective average was .271 this year compared to .249 in 2018 (.266 this year vs. the non-Orioles). The additional batting average has provided different ways to score without homers and to get on base in front of the homers.

Essentially the Yankees have had a long lineup with a greater variety of ways to generate runs. That has enabled them to live well on Fantasy Island. But the Orioles disappear from the 2019 schedule for good after Wednesday. And we will see if this offense can maintain the fantasy.

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Blue Jays’ Rally Begins a New Streak for the Yankees

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a go-ahead, two-run triple in the seventh inning and the Toronto Blue Jays rallied to beat the Yankees, 5-4, Saturday, handing New York its second straight loss following a season-high nine-game winning streak.

Gary Sanchez returned from the injured list and hit a solo home run for the Yankees and Gio Urshela added a two-run drive.

The Blue Jays trailed 4-3 in the seventh when Bo Bichette drew a one-out walk from Adam Ottavino, Cavan Biggio singled and Guerrero Jr. grounded the ball down the first-base line and into foul territory. Right fielder Aaron Judge initially mishandled the ball against a side wall, and Guerrero slid in safely for the first triple of his career.

The Yankees had gone ahead on DJ LeMahieu’s sacrifice fly in the top of the inning, but Ottavino (5-4) couldn’t make it stand up. The right-hander allowed a run for the first time in 16 appearances, a streak that dated to July 2 against the Mets.

Jason Adam (1-0) worked 1 1/3 innings for his first major league win and Derek Law got four outs for his third save in three opportunities.

Teoscar Hernandez hit a three-run home run for the Blue Jays, who have gone deep in 15 consecutive games. It is Toronto’s longest such streak since a 19-game run in 2010.

Blue Jays batters have hit 99 home runs since June 16. Only the Yankees (100) have hit more in that span.

The Yankees have hit multiple home runs in nine straight games, extending their season-best streak. New York lost for the ninth time in 61 games with multiple home runs.

Sanchez started in the cleanup spot after missing 16 games because of a strained left groin. He struck out swinging on three pitches against right-hander Wilmer Font in his first at-bat, then provided the first hit of the game with a one-out homer off right-hander Jacob Waguespack in the fourth. It was Sanchez’s 25th home run of the season and his first since July 4.

Toronto got its first hit, and its first runs, in the fourth. Hernandez, who homered twice Friday, greeted right-hander Chance Adam with a three-run drive into the second deck, his 18th.

Urshela tied it at 3 with a homer into the center field party deck in the sixth, his 17th.

Urshela had back-to-back, two-homer games against Baltimore and Toronto on Wednesday and Thursday. Of his past 29 hits, 20 have been for extra bases.

The Yankees lost for the first time in 12 games this season when using an opener, with starter Chad Green pitching a scoreless inning. Six Yankees pitchers combined to walk eight and strike out 14.

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Mookie Betts’s 3 Homers Lead Another Red Sox Demolition of the Yankees

BOSTON — Mookie Betts hit three home runs against James Paxton on Friday night during the first four innings of a 10-5 blowout of the Yankees, whose starting pitchers have stumbled this week in historic fashion.

Betts first homered on Paxton’s eighth pitch in a three-run first inning that included a two-run homer by J. D. Martinez. Betts went deep again leading off the third for a 4-0 lead and then hit a two-run drive in the fourth for a 7-0 advantage.

Betts added a run-scoring double in the sixth off David Hale to give him five R.B.I., and he grounded out in the eighth. With his fifth career three-homer game, Betts raised his season total to 18 homers.

Batters have had three-homer games on four straight days for the first time in big league history. Betts followed the Mets’ Robinson Cano, St. Louis’s Paul DeJong and Minnesota’s Nelson Cruz.

Andrew Cashner (10-5), coming off losses in his first two starts after Boston acquired him from Baltimore, allowed three runs and 10 hits in six and two-thirds innings.

Martinez drove in three runs for the Red Sox, who won the opener of the four-game series by 19-3 and have pulled within nine games of the division-leading Yankees. The Red Sox had 14 hits, giving them 37 in the first two games of the series, and reached 11 games above .500 for the first time this season at 58-47.

Paxton (5-6) became just the fourth pitcher in big league history to allow a leadoff home run in three straight starts, according to the statistics agency Stats, after Brad Radke (2004), Brandon Backe (2008) and Yovani Gallardo (2017). Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon went deep off Paxton to start a game on Sunday, and Tampa Bay’s Travis d’Arnaud did the same on July 15.

Paxton has an 11.00 earned run average in the first inning this year, allowing 10 first-inning home runs in 18 starts. Over all, he allowed seven runs and nine hits in four innings, including a career-worst four homers, while striking out nine and walking none. His E.R.A. rose to 4.72, and he has allowed 17 homers this season, including 11 in his last six starts.

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Troy Tulowitzki Retires After a Brief Comeback in Pinstripes

BOSTON — After a year and a half away from the major leagues with a fractured ankle and bone spurs in his heels, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki wanted only one thing: for his 5-year-old son, Taz, to see him play again. The thought drove Tulowitzki every day through an arduous rehabilitation that seemed like a long shot to get him back on a major league field.

Tulowitzki got his wish this spring: At 34, he was the opening day shortstop for the Yankees, whom he watched growing up because of his admiration for their shortstop, Derek Jeter.

But the comeback was short-lived. Tulowitzki could not quite recover from a nagging calf injury, and there was no place for him anymore on the Yankees. They let him return home during the season to consider his future.

And on Thursday, Tulowitzki conceded to reality, announcing his retirement after 13 seasons in the majors, most of them as a dynamic star for the Colorado Rockies. By 30, he was a five-time All-Star who hit for average and power and had won two Gold Gloves for his defense.

“I wish that my health had allowed for a different ending to that chapter,” Tulowitzki said in a 327-word statement issued by the Yankees.

At about the same time, the University of Texas announced that it had hired Tulowitzki, who attended California State University Long Beach, as an assistant coach.

In his statement, Tulowitzki thanked his family, his agent, the fans, his former teams — the Rockies and the Toronto Blue Jays — and also the Yankees for giving him one final shot. Tulowitzki finished his career as a .290 hitter with 225 home runs and a World Series appearance with the Rockies in 2007. Since the start of the 2016 season, he has played in only 202 games.

“I will always look back with tremendous gratitude for having the privilege of playing as long as I did,” Tulowitzki said.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said Tulowitzki’s defense had always impressed him.

“What I’ll remember,” Boone said, “is obviously a great player, but a guy that played a great shortstop and played it in such a unique way, with flair and the way he moved and played on the run and threw from different angles.”

The Blue Jays released Tulowitzki after the 2018 season with $38 million and two years left on his contract. He landed with the Yankees this off-season after impressing them in private workouts. He was expected to be the Yankees’ primary shortstop until Didi Gregorius returned from elbow surgery this summer. Tulowitzki went 2 for 11 with one home run before injuring his left calf.

“While this chapter is now over, I look forward to continuing my involvement in the game that I love … instructing and helping young players to achieve their goals and dreams,” he said. “I’m saying goodbye to Major League Baseball, but I will never say goodbye 2 the game I love. Thanks again 2 all of you!”

The use of the No. 2 was fitting: It’s what he wore most of his career, a number he chose because of Jeter.

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Where Yankees fit as Marcus Stroman’s value skyrockets

Two veteran managers, facing a sudden-death game, decided to give the ball to Marcus Stroman because they had determined he had the right stuff — diabolical sink to his pitchers and unsinkable faith in himself.

In a decisive Division Series Game 5 against the Rangers in 2015, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons turned to Stroman, as did Jim Leyland for the World Baseball Classic final in 2017. Both times Stroman excelled, which is part of his credentials as contenders mull acquiring the small righty over the next week.

The Yankees, in particular, try to determine whether a pitcher cannot only handle stressful games, but their specific pressurized situation. Another diminutive righty, Sonny Gray, had pitched well in his only playoff appearance for Oakland, giving the Yankees a level of comfort that he would not buckle in New York. Yet, Gray was overwhelmed by the environment.

“I know this (New York) is a different place and I know 100 percent (of players) don’t work out,” said Leyland, who won pennants in both leagues and the World Series with the 1997 Marlins. “But if anyone can do it, I think it is (Stroman). I think he would thrive in (New York).”

Gibbons, who was Stroman’s only manager in Toronto until this year, said, “I love the kid. He is a great competitor. He’s volatile and emotional, anyone can see that. He wants the spotlight. If there is a big game to pitch, he wants it. Some guys shy away from it. He has a chip on his shoulder big time. He’s very sharp, intelligent, went to Duke. Yes, most definitely (thinks he can handle New York).”

Stroman, an All-Star for the first time, is generally viewed within the industry as the most likely top starter to be traded before Wednesday’s deadline. The 28-year-old does not become a free agent until after the 2020 season. But the Blue Jays recognize his value may never be higher: He is having his best season (2.96 ERA) at a time when the field of high-end available starters is small and many contenders are searching for rotation help — hence, it is a seller’s market.

The Yankees, Astros, Braves, Phillies and several other contenders hunger to upgrade their rotation. Offers for Stroman were tepid after he left a June 29 start with what was termed a cramp in his non-pitching shoulder and didn’t pitch again for two weeks. But in three starts since, including holding Cleveland to one run in seven innings Wednesday, Stroman has a 1.80 ERA and .549 OPS.

The number of suitors and quality of offers have both increased with recent success and the Blue Jays internally believe they now have a floor with which they are comfortable and that bidding can further increase the potential return in the coming days, making it more and more likely Stroman is dealt before his next scheduled start on Tuesday. The Yankees are not currently perceived as a frontrunner. They have not pursued him with the same ardor as J.A. Happ last year and the Blue Jays like other contenders’ farm systems better.

“I would think (he’d) fit in any contending team,” Leyland said. “There is no fear. I think the world of him. Like a lot of guys now he shows his emotion. Some are OK with it, some it rubs the wrong way. That’s just him. He wants the ball, that’s the big thing.”

Leyland had Stroman pitch the WBC final against Puerto Rico. There was some possibility of Chris Archer pitching the final, but there was discomfort that Archer did not stay with the team the whole time while Stroman was committed to the club. Stroman no-hit Puerto Rico for six innings before faltering to open the seventh of what would be an 8-0 title-clinching US win.

“It was Dodger Stadium, it was 50,000 people and I couldn’t have picked someone better to start that game,” Leyland said. “The guy was exactly what we needed. He was proud to be there. He was determined to win that game. He’s a jewel in my opinion, a great addition for anyone, not just the New York Yankees.”

Stroman tore his ACL in spring training 2015 and there were questions if he could even return. He did in time to make four September starts as Toronto clinched its first playoff berth since winning consecutive titles in 1992-93. The Blue Jays came back from 0-2 down vs. Texas to tie the series. Gibbons insists his use of David Price in relief in Game 4 was not to avoid starting the lefty, who to that point had struggled in the postseason, in Game 5.

But Gibbons did not flinch because Stroman was the choice to start the decisive game, in which he yielded two runs in six innings. Gibbons said he was confident in Stroman in part because of what is often viewed as a negative with the Long Island native.

“He is going to speak his mind and rub some people wrong,” Gibbons said. “One thing about the kid, he lays it out, you know what he’s thinking, where he stands. He is determined to maximize his career. One way to do that is to be in the spotlight and he believes that. But he is absolutely unafraid of that spotlight.”

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Yankees Stay Hot but Rockies Get a Little Wild

The Yankees were a triple-header of hot on Saturday.

First was the temperature at Yankee Stadium: 94 degrees at game time.

Next was the offense, which torched Colorado pitching for the second straight day, fueling an 11-5 victory that extended the Yankees’ winning streak to five.

And then came tempers: Luke Voit was hit on the chin by Chad Bettis in the fourth inning, and Austin Romine was buzzed by a pair of up-and-in pitches from Jairo Diaz in the eighth.

“That was some dangerous stuff going on up by the face,” Romine said.

The Yankees went ahead when Aaron Judge doubled in a run on Antonio Senzatela’s 10th pitch, Edwin Encarnacion chased Senzatela with a two-run double in a five-run second, and the Yankees gave Masahiro Tanaka a 9-0 lead by the fourth.

Encarnacion added an R.B.I. single in the seventh as the Yankees reached double digits in runs for the 13th time this year. He has 21 R.B.I. in 24 games since the Yankees acquired him from Seattle.

D. J. LeMahieu raised his American League-leading average to .334 with three hits, giving him five in two games against the Rockies, his former team.

“It’s a little weird,” said LeMahieu, who spent his first eight big-league seasons in Colorado. “I’ll be excited not to play them anymore.”

The Yankees began the day with a nine-game lead in the A.L. East, their largest in seven years, and improved their major-league-leading record to 64-33. The Yankees are 14-0-1 in their last 15 home series and are on their fifth winning streak of five games or more. On Sunday, they will go for their ninth series sweep of the season.

Tanaka said the heat reminded him of steamy summer games in Japan.

Romine added: “It was fine when we were walking on the grass, but as soon as you got to the plate it was like a cone of heat. It was awful. It was a struggle out there.”

The Yankees were also steamed over the inside pitches.

“I don’t think there was intent, but sometimes intent doesn’t matter,” Manager Aaron Boone said. “Throw the ball over the plate.”

Voit was hit by a 91-mile-per-hour pitch from Bettis that glanced off his left shoulder and struck the left side of his face, drawing blood. Voit scored on Gleyber Torres’s two-run single, and then returned to the clubhouse and was replaced. The Yankees said tests indicated he did not have a concussion, and Boone said he thought Voit would be available for Sunday’s game.

Colorado has lost six straight and 13 of 15 while being outscored, 127-64.

“I think there’s frustration for sure,” said Nolan Arenado, who hit a three-run homer and left in the eighth with a cramp in his right leg. “Just long innings, so that it makes it even hotter. But as the game went on, we just got used to it.”

Left fielder Raimel Tapia’s failure to throw the ball to the infield led to havoc in a 34-minute bottom of the second, and no one covered second as Romine, a slow-footed catcher, stole a base for the fourth time in his big-league career. The Rockies were also charged with two errors.

“We are not playing the defense we are accustomed to,” Manager Bud Black said.

Tanaka (7-5) needed just 46 pitches to breeze through five innings, getting nine groundouts and three strikeouts while allowing two singles. Senzatela and Bettis combined to throw 79 pitches in the first two innings alone.

Tanaka’s splitter flattened in Colorado’s five-run sixth that included Arenado’s 22nd homer, a drive that hit the top of the center-field wall and bounced over.

Senzatela (8-7) allowed six runs, seven hits and two walks in one and a third innings, the shortest of 51 career starts. His E.R.A. rose to 6.29.

Colorado came apart in the second after Didi Gregorius’s leadoff single. Torres singled to left for the first of his three hits, and Gregorius sped to third as Tapia held the ball for about four seconds and then made a soft toss toward third. Senzatela cut off the throw and flung the ball into right field as Torres headed to second, allowing Gregorius to head home.

Romine singled for a 3-0 lead and then made his steal of second with the infield shifted for LeMahieu. Romine scored on a bases-loaded single by Aaron Hicks, who had been 4 for 45 in his career with the bases full.

“I noticed no one was covering when I got halfway there,” Romine said. “I was happy about that.”

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CC Sabathia gives Yankees what they needed: ‘Never gonna back down’

CC Sabathia called it a “misunderstanding.”

Avisail Garcia said “nothing happened.”

Their odd narratives of what transpired after Sabathia struck out the Rays’ right fielder looking to end the top of the sixth notwithstanding, the two ended up yelling at each other, with the benches clearing and bullpens emptying.

And it may have provided the spark for the Yankees’ 8-3 comeback win over Tampa Bay in The Bronx.

“He keeps us locked in,’’ Aaron Judge said of Sabathia. “And he can fire us up when we need it and we needed it tonight.”

The Yankees trailed 3-1 at the time, a night after their dramatic ninth-inning loss to the Rays.

Sabathia appeared to say something in the direction of home plate, which caught Garcia’s attention.

“I wasn’t talking to him,’’ Sabathia said. “He looked up at me and said something and it was over. I was just yelling out, pumping myself up and he might have taken offense to it. I’m never gonna back down.’’

Sabathia may have been talking to home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi about a call, but what began as the left-hander and Garcia jawing at each other, escalated to Didi Gregorius holding his teammate back as tempers flared.

“It felt like holding a bear right there,’’ Gregorius said with a smile. “I know now what’s it like to have a great encounter against a bear. I even got elbowed a little a bit.’’

Sabathia said he didn’t realize it was the shortstop grabbing him until Gregorius told him about it after the game.

“I didn’t want him to get thrown out of game,’’ Gregorius said. “I tried to hold him back as much as I can.”

Despite being short on specifics, Sabathia acknowledged his recent history against the Rays.

In May, Sabathia nearly hit Austin Meadows with a pitch and could be seen walking off the mound yelling, “I definitely was trying to hit his ass.”

That came after the Yankees were upset that Yonny Chirinos had plunked Luke Voit and Gary Sanchez during a game at Tampa Bay.

Last September, Sabathia was tossed from a game and ended up serving a five-game suspension to start this season for drilling Jesus Sucre in retaliation for the Rays’ Andrew Kittredge having thrown behind Austin Romine’s head.

“Last year wasn’t my fault,’’ Sabathia said. “It’s two good teams battling for the division. Games are gonna be intense.”

As for what occurred with Garcia: “There’s no love lost.”

“We’re playing for a lot,’’ Aaron Boone said. “Sometimes [Sabathia] runs a little hot, that’s all.”

It took two more innings, but the Yankees took the lead and broke the game open in the eighth, thanks to a homer by Judge and a grand slam by Gregorius.

“I’d like to say they responded [well],’’ Sabathia said. “They were fired up.”

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All eyes are on Yankees’ stud prospect Deivi Garcia

CLEVELAND — It comes with the territory of being a Yankees prospect, and as far as Deivi Garcia is concerned, he’ll pitch in whatever territory will have him.

Garcia, a 20-year-old Dominican right-hander, has enjoyed a breakout 2019, and it took two steps on Sunday, first when he threw a 1-2-3 first inning for the American League in the Futures Game at Progressive Park and then, upon his completion of that task, when the Yankees announced his promotion from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

And if he experiences another big step by the July 31 trade deadline? He’ll roll with it.

“I really don’t think about that that much,” Garcia said, through an interpreter, when asked about the possibility of being dealt by the Yankees for a current major leaguer. “I just do my work, and if the moment comes that I get traded, it’s my job to do my work there as well.”

His work has been top-notch so far. He earned his latest reward by tallying a 3.00 ERA in 10 starts, totaling 51 innings, at Trenton after starting the campaign at Single-A Tampa. He has struck out 81 and walked 25 while allowing only two home runs, and on June 24, he threw five hitless innings against Reading in what wound up being a combined no-hitter.

He learned his latest good news, Garcia said afterward, when he received a text message from Trenton manager Patrick Osborn. Upon hearing the news, “I smiled,” he said, “because I know [Scranton manager Jay Bell] well. … I was really happy because I’m excited to be playing with him.”

Garcia pitched well last year in 15 starts for three different clubs (Single-A Charleston, Tampa and Trenton), so he didn’t quite come from nowhere. His performance has improved even as the competition has, however, and he credits much of that to the slider he conceived and nurtured only recently, giving him another pitch on top of his fastball — he caught leadoff hitter Cristian Pache of the Braves organization looking at a 96 mph bullet for strike three — changeup and curveball.

“In the offseason, I really got it in my mind that I wanted to add that pitch to my repertoire,” Garcia said. “In spring training, we started working on it. And I asked them, ‘When can I throw the slider in the game?’ They said, ‘You can throw it whenever you’re ready.’ So I started using it now in Double-A.”

Yankees pitching coordinator Scott Aldred and Trenton pitching coach Tim Norton have helped him with this the most, Garcia said.

With the Yankees hoping to add either a starting pitcher or a reliever, if not one of each, Garcia stands as an obvious trade target by other clubs. If it happens, it happens. Yet he’d rather it not happen.

“I always think about it,” Garcia said of reaching the big leagues with the club that signed him as an amateur. “I always have it in mind that maybe, one day, I’ll get there and pitch for the Yankees. It’s a goal of mine.”

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Yankees caught off guard by Giancarlo Stanton’s uneasy IL fate

As the Yankees left for London, Giancarlo Stanton was off to a familiar place.

Just six games after Stanton returned from a variety of injuries that sidelined him for 11 weeks, the Yankees slugger was placed on the injured list with a PCL strain in his right knee, which he suffered Tuesday night. Though Stanton arrived to Yankee Stadium with stiffness in the joint Wednesday morning, manager Aaron Boone was confident — following an MRI — the injury wouldn’t prohibit the outfielder from traveling to London, or keep him off the field very long.

Then, following an examination by team physician Christopher Ahmad, Boone learned he would be without the 29-year-old for longer than the injured list’s minimum 10-day stay.

“I think it’ll be more than that, but that’s when the re-evaluation happens,” Boone said after the Yankees beat the Blue Jays, 8-7. “He’s going on the IL, so I didn’t necessarily anticipate that. I think it kind of explains the pain he was in when he came in, so [I’m] frustrated for him, knowing how much he’s worked to get back, and the couple of setbacks he’s had along the way getting back. I felt like he was starting to get into a groove a little bit with us, so we gotta deal with it and hopefully get him right here at some point to get back.”

The second-highest paid player in baseball has barely seen the field in his second season with the Yankees, appearing in just nine games. After missing most of the year with multiple injuries — a torn left biceps, a strained left shoulder and a left calf strain — Stanton left Tuesday’s win in the fourth inning following a headfirst slide into third base.

“This is a great player, important to our club,” Boone said. “Obviously when he’s going well, he’s one of those rare guys that can impact the game in a profound way and carry a club when he’s rolling hot.”

Thus far, the Yankees’ offense hasn’t noticed the absence of the former MVP, closing out a 9-1 homestand by extending its major league record to 29 straight games with a home run.

Stanton, who hit his first homer of the season Monday, is batting .290, with a .421 on-base percentage. Prior to the season, Stanton had played at least 158 games the past two years.

“It’s tough,” teammate Aaron Judge said. “But he’s a competitor, he’s tough, he’s a bulldog, and he’s gonna be ready for us down the stretch.”

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