DJ LeMahieu scratched, Rob Brantly debuts for Yankees … debuts as 1st baseman

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NJ.com 20 July, 2021 - 06:04pm 5 views

The Yankees’ latest Triple-A lineup just got a little more Scranton-ish.

Manager Aaron Boone had to change things up in a hurry just before the start of Tuesday night’s game against the Phillies due to DJ LeMahieu being scratched due to a stomach flu.

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LeMahieu was in Boone’s original lineup leading off and playing first base.

In the updated line, new backup catcher Rob Brantly was inserted for his Yankees debut and play first base for the first time as a major leaguer.

Brantly was recalled from Triple-A last Friday when No. 2 catcher Kyle Higashioka went on the COVID IL.

With Brantly starting Tuesday, the Yankees had three players in their lineup who were recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the last week including right fielder Greg Allen and center fielder Estevan Florial.

Florial was recalled early Tuesday when outfielder Trey Amburgey went on the IL with a hamstring strain. The Yankees currently have 17 players on the IL, eight of which were added since last Thursday.

Brantly was picked to start at first base over Chris Gittens, who is dealing with a sore Achilles. Gittens was recalled from Scranton last Thursday and started all three games against Boston last weekend.

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Chapman gets 1st save in over a month as Yanks beat Phillies

Suburban Journals 21 July, 2021 - 06:10am

New York Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman celebrates with catcher Gary Sanchez (24) after the Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 6-4 in a baseball game Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

New York Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton celebrates a solo home run during the seventh inning of the team's baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

New York Yankees' Estevan Florial celebrates his solo home run, next to Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto during the eighth inning of a baseball game on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

New York Yankees center fielder Estevan Florial celebrates with left fielder Greg Allen (22) after the Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 6-4 in a baseball game Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Brandon Kintzler walks on the mound after giving up a solo home run to New York Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola tosses a rosin bag during the third inning of the team's baseball game against the New York Yankees on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

New York Yankees' Estevan Florial watches his solo home run during the eighth inning of the team's baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

New York Yankees' Rob Brantly hits a double during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper can't make a play on a solo home run hit by New York Yankees' Brett Gardner during the fifth inning of a baseball game on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper can't make a play on a ball off the bat of New York Yankees' Greg Allen during the third inning of a baseball game on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

NEW YORK (AP) — Aroldis Chapman allowed a run in the ninth inning before recording his first save in over a month, and the New York Yankees hit four homers to power past the Philadelphia Phillies 6-4 on Tuesday night.

Brett Gardner hit a go-ahead homer in the fifth inning before Gary Sánchez, Giancarlo Stanton and Estevan Florial also connected in the final three innings for the Yankees, who moved within seven games of AL East-leading Boston.

The struggling Chapman, who entered with a 10.80 ERA in his last 15 appearances, struck out Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins and Didi Gregorius — while also giving up a solo homer to Andrew McCutchen — to convert his 17th save in 21 opportunities. It was Chapman’s first save since getting a game-ending triple play against Oakland on June 20.

“Another really good step forward,” manager Aaron Boone said.

It was also his first save opportunity since allowing three runs without getting an out in the seventh inning in the first game of a doubleheader against the Mets on July 4. He had made three scoreless appearances in low-leverage situations.

“I’m seeing the sharpness,” Sánchez said through a translator. “The past couple of outings, I see it. I see the quality of his pitches.”

Chapman fell behind Harper by throwing three straight fastballs out of the strike zone, but then used his slider to get the first out. McCutchen then hit a 1-0 100-mph fastball into the left field seats to make it 6-4.

Chapman threw three straight pitches over 100 mph to Hoskins and got his second strikeout on a 103-mph pitch. He ended the game by getting Gregorius to look at a 102-mph fastball.

“To fall behind 3-0 to Harper and just make some really good pitches against him was huge,” Boone said. “Then (after the McCutchen homer) it was right back to, I thought, really got locked in with his delivery, pounded the zone.

“You saw the velocity up, overpowered Hoskins and then the same with Didi. I think he just got in a really good place with his delivery, was on line and the stuff was there. So, encouraging again.”

Hoskins homered, Ronald Torreyes hit an RBI double and Jean Segura hit an RBI single for the Phillies, who lost for the fifth time in 15 games.

Aaron Nola returned from the COVID-19 list and allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings in his first start since July 6.

“He gave us an opportunity to win this game,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “We struggled swinging the bats early.”

Playing without All-Star slugger Aaron Judge and five of his teammates who also tested positive for COVID-19 recently, the Yankees won their third straight and for the eighth time in 11 games since Chapman’s meltdown against the Mets.

The Yankees also scratched DJ LeMahieu with a stomach virus about 45 minutes before first pitch. The Yankees announced LeMahieu had a COVID-19 rapid test that came back negative but his absence resulted in Gardner leading off for the third time this season and Rob Brantly playing first base for the first, time in his career.

Gardner gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead in the fifth when he connected shortly after Greg Allen scored his second run on a throwing error by Gregorius at shortstop.

Before scoring his second run, Allen hit a triple in the third over right fielder Harper’s head scored on Florial’s grounder.

Sánchez’s 436-foot blast gave the Yankees a 4-2 lead in the sixth. Stanton’s homer in the seventh made it 5-2, and Florial’s first career homer made it 6-3.

New York starter Domingo Germán allowed two runs and three hits in four innings in his first start since June 30 against the Los Angeles Angels. Luis Cessa (3-1) followed German and was awarded the win.

Chad Green whiffed Hoskins and Gregorius to escape a bases-loaded jam in the seventh. Zack Britton allowed three straight one-hits, but got a double play to end the eighth.

Phillies: RHP Zach Eflin (right knee tendinitis) was placed on the injured list. Eflin, who had surgery in 2016 on both knees, does not believe the injury is serious and will cause him to miss significant time. ... 3B Alec Bohm (COVID-19) has been medically cleared to return, but has to get back into baseball shape before getting activated. ... LHP Bailey Falter and RHP J.D. Hammer were placed on the COVID-19 injured list. ... OF Mickey Moniak and RHP Mauricio Llovera were recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. ... RHP Chase Anderson (COVID-19) pitched 5 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Lehigh Valley.

Yankees: Boone said LeMahieu was feeling better by the end of the game and hoped to have him available Wednesday. ... RHP Darren O’Day (strained left hamstring) will undergo season-ending surgery Wednesday. O’Day was injured July 6 sprinting in the outfield when the team was in Seattle. O’Day, who missed two months with a strained right rotator cuff and had a 3.38 ERA in 12 appearances. O'Day had surgery on his left hamstring in 2018 when he was with Baltimore and said it never fully healed from that surgery. ... RHP Jonathan Loaisiga (COVID-19) threw from flat ground and will throw a bullpen session Wednesday. He could return for the upcoming series in Boston. … OF Tim LoCastro (torn right ACL) will undergo season-ending surgery Wednesday. LoCastro was injured in the first inning Saturday against Boston. ... OF Trey Amburgey (strained right hamstring) was placed on the injured list. He was injured in the fourth inning Sunday.

Philadelphia will likely have a bullpen game, while Asher Wojciehowski makes his season debut for New York.

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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New York Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman celebrates with catcher Gary Sanchez (24) after the Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 6-4 in a baseball game Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

New York Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton celebrates a solo home run during the seventh inning of the team's baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

New York Yankees' Estevan Florial celebrates his solo home run, next to Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto during the eighth inning of a baseball game on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

New York Yankees center fielder Estevan Florial celebrates with left fielder Greg Allen (22) after the Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 6-4 in a baseball game Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Brandon Kintzler walks on the mound after giving up a solo home run to New York Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola tosses a rosin bag during the third inning of the team's baseball game against the New York Yankees on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

New York Yankees' Estevan Florial watches his solo home run during the eighth inning of the team's baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

New York Yankees' Rob Brantly hits a double during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper can't make a play on a solo home run hit by New York Yankees' Brett Gardner during the fifth inning of a baseball game on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper can't make a play on a ball off the bat of New York Yankees' Greg Allen during the third inning of a baseball game on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York.

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Estevan Florial Takes Advantage of Latest Opportunity, Crushes First MLB Home Run

Sports Illustrated 21 July, 2021 - 05:21am

Florial had been called up to replace outfielder Trey Amburgey, a reinforcement that went down with a hamstring injury on Sunday night. 

As much as his return to the show had Florial excited, flashing his contagious smile while going through batting practice, the outfield prospect was also driven by past feelings of frustration.

"I'm not going to lie to you," he said as he concluded his pregame routine. "It's frustrating. Nobody wants to go back to Triple-A."

After his last two big-league opportunities over the last 12 months, the former top prospect within New York's farm system has been promptly sent back down to the minor leagues. It's been a sobering reality check for Florial after getting to taste the majors, especially considering he's produced a base hit in each of his two previous big-league games played. 

Getting the start on Tuesday night in center field, Florial had another chance to take advantage of an opportunity. He proceeded to do everything in his power to earn an extended stay.

All four of Florial's at-bats in New York's 6-4 win over the Phillies were productive. From his first career RBI—getting the job done by grounding a ball to the right side with a runner on third—to adding an insurance run in the eighth with his first MLB home run, Florial's contributions were instrumental to his club's victory.

"To me it's everything I have dreamed about," Florial said after the win. "To come here, to play in the big leagues and overall, help the team."

"A lot of what I've seen from him, playing with him in Triple-A," Allen said. "Started the year in Double-A, I'm sure he had some ups and downs and not always in the place where he wanted to be. But at the end of the day, he was here today, and I think you saw a very focused player with a ton of skill who was able to help us win today."

Florial earned a promotion to Triple-A after flashing some pop with Double-A Somerset over nine games earlier this spring. He made a brief stop with the Bombers in May, called up for a doubleheader against the Blue Jays, before returning to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. 

With players dropping like flies in pinstripes, though, Florial's services were needed and could be required for a little longer than just Tuesday night. 

"He's got loads of talent and tonight, he was really good. The quality of the at-bats were there too," Boone said after the game. "It wasn't an accident. We know that's what he's capable of. And hopefully he can continue to kind of give us that shot in the arm."

Once certain regulars are ready to return from the COVID-19 injured list or the regular IL, Florial may find himself on the Scranton shuttle once again. But for now, he's focused on helping his team and growing as a ballplayer every step of the way, showing why he's deserving of a spot with this team in the future. 

Eflin (right knee) to IL; 2 on COVID-19 IL

MLB.com 20 July, 2021 - 07:44pm

“Should I kind of push through it the next 13-14 starts?” he said at Yankee Stadium. “Or try to nip it in the bud this go-around and just be healthy the rest of the way through? I think that's kind of what we all agreed on.

“I’m not overly concerned about it.”

Eflin has a history of knee issues. He was placed on the injured list in August 2016 with patellar tendinopathy in both knees, and he later had surgery to repair them. Eflin has managed both knees well since surgery, although he said the right knee started to bother him in his last start on Friday against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

“I think we're being proactive about it now, so that we're able to strengthen the muscles to take tension off,” Eflin said. “But it's going to be something I battle probably my whole career. For the most part, the last five years have been fine post-surgery. And this go-around, it hasn't really calmed down. It’s kind of stayed swollen. We’re just going to give it a couple extra days to get on some medication and see it go down and then get back, get moving, get my mechanics back and then go from there.

“But like I said, I'm not really worried about it. I know it's going to be fine. I can go out tomorrow and pitch on it. But the problem is not being in my normal mechanics. And then, you know, the arm compensating for other things. And I think that's kind of the worry about it. So we're just planning on missing this start and gaining some strength back and hopefully being able to go the next time around. It’s something that we think is manageable.”

The Phillies will make Wednesday a bullpen game, but they are not expected to be any more aggressive finding starting pitching before the July 30 Trade Deadline. Eflin is eligible to be activated as early as July 27.

“We feel like we can fill that short-term void pretty well,” Phillies general manager Sam Fuld said. “We’ll keep our options open, but I don’t think it changes our process as we move along.”

The Phillies have placed six players on the COVID-19 IL in the past 10 days, including Falter twice. Right-hander Aaron Nola returned from the COVID-19 IL and started Tuesday night against the Yankees. Third baseman Alec Bohm rejoined the team and could be activated on Wednesday. Bohm, Nola, Falter and Connor Brogdon each landed on the COVID-19 IL on July 11. Bohm tested positive for the virus, while Nola, Falter and Brogdon were sidelined because of contact tracing.

The Phillies are one of a handful of teams that have not reached the 85 percent threshold of vaccinated Tier 1 individuals, which includes players and coaches. Unvaccinated players continue to be tested and monitored for contact tracing. Vaccinated players are tested only if they are symptomatic.

The concern is that as this keeps happening to the Phillies, they may miss some key players and lose some important games down the stretch as they try to make the postseason for the first time since 2011. Nola acknowledged last week that the thought has crossed the players’ minds.

“This is the reality that we’re in,” said Fuld. “It can be frustrating at times, and it’s an unfortunate situation. We just have to do the best that we can and rely on depth. Every year is a test of depth, but it feels like [this one] more than ever, now. We continue to chip away and make progress towards upping our vaccination rate, and that continues to be a conversation with players and staff. We’ve made progress, and we’re hopeful that we continue to make progress.”

The Phillies have tried to educate players in Philadelphia and at Triple-A Lehigh Valley about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

“From our medical staff, outside resources, we’ve enlisted help from the league,” Fuld said. “We’ve done a lot. Certainly, we’ve made efforts. We’re limited to what exactly we can do, but we've certainly made a lot of effort to educate and treat every guy and person on an individual level. Just have conversations and not necessarily have it be one-sided. Everyone has their own unique situations, and we have to respect that. We’ve done a lot.

“Nothing has changed on our end that we believe in the science behind it. We believe that it’s effective and safe, and we’ll continue to be here as a resource and answer questions. We are making progress. Our vaccination rate has not plateaued or flat-lined.”

The Phillies recalled right-hander Mauricio Llovera and outfielder Mickey Moniak from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take the place of Falter and Hammer on the 26-man roster.

Yankees choose wild option for spot start over Deivi Garcia Wednesday

Yanks Go Yard 20 July, 2021 - 11:19am

TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 28: Asher Wojciechowski #60 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch during the third inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during a spring training game at George M. Steinbrenner Field on February 28, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees are trying something so crazy it just might work on Wednesday against the Phillies.

Or so crazy it just might disrespect one of the team’s top prospects while attempting to save their top four starters for a weekend series in Boston. One of the two.

With space to fill thanks to Michael King’s IL stint and Nestor Cortes Jr.’s COVID-IL trip, New York entered their two-game set with Domingo German and a large “TBD” penciled in for the second contest. It was hard to feel confident with that pairing, but conventional wisdom suggested Deivi Garcia, someone we’ve at least seen before, would get the second game.

Well…could we interest you in “someone who was injured all season long who you completely forgot about” instead?

While discussing Darren O’Day’s sad season-ending (career-ending?) surgery and his suddenly-fast lineup that includes five lefties (!) on Tuesday night, Aaron Boone dropped an intriguing bomb on the gathered press corps.

Remember Asher Wojciechowski? Probably not? Well, he’s starting Game 2.

Asher Wojciechowski is likely to be activated to start tomorrow’s game, Aaron Boone says.

— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) July 20, 2021

Has Deivi Garcia earned this chance? Not really. Only his recent Triple-A work has been passable, and on the season, he’s lost the strike zone entirely, registering a 7.21 ERA with 32 walks in 43.2 innings at the Triple-A level. We still anticipated a promotion was more likely than a rogue Wojciechowski sighting, though, a pitcher who harkens back to the days of Darrell Rasner and Sidney Ponson.

What’s Garcia’s timeline, you might be wondering? When does he line up with the proceedings?

Well, glad you asked. See, the Yankees could’ve bumped him one more day and at least gone with a familiar former top prospect for one day’s worth of midseason duty.

Instead, they’re going to use Garcia for the RailRiders’ game Tuesday and activate Wojciechowski specifically for this bloodbath at the stadium.

I guess that means Deivi Garcia isn't coming up to make the spot start tomorrow. Given the rest of the AAA rotation, looks like the Yankees are going with a bullpen game instead. https://t.co/OXYznvsflZ

— River Ave. Blues (@RiverAveBlues) July 20, 2021

He got rocked to the tune of a nine-spot in the fourth inning of spring action on March 4, at which point many of us went, “Nope, probably not a guy!”

Well, we were right…until the all-important stretch prior to the trade deadline, which will decide if these short-sighted Yankees are buyers or sellers.

Oh my GOSH, it’s such a rush that Wojciechowski is both active and starting a key game. Domingo German and Wojciechowski in a two-game set. Sure, we’d rather they face Philadelphia than Boston, but what if the answer was “neither”?

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