With the Yankees’ bullpen pitching well there is not an urgent need for right-hander Tommy Kahnle to return from Triple-A, to which he was optioned to on June 4.
“We want him to build up and see a tick up in stuff,’’ manager Aaron Boone said of Kahnle, who suffered a dip in velocity this year. “Last year he was at 98 [mph], but I don’t think he needs be back there to be elite.’’
After being acquired from the White Sox last July, Kahnle appeared in 32 games for the Yankees. He allowed 25 hits, struck out 36 and walked 10 in 26 ²/₃ innings to go with a 2.70 ERA. He followed that by appearing in seven postseason games in which he had a 2.38 ERA and whiffed 10 and walked two in 11 ¹/₃ innings.
This year, which has included a DL stint for shoulder tendinitis, has been different. In eight games, he has worked nine innings, given up six hits and has the same amount of strikeouts (10) as walks.
He has worked five games combined for Charleston and SWB and has a 3.00 ERA in six innings. He has struck out nine and walked two.
After not appearing in the past two games, Gary Sanchez will return to the lineup Thursday against the Rays at Yankee Stadium.
Boone might elevate Gleyber Torres from ninth to fifth or sixth for a game or two, but the manager is enamored of having Torres hit in front of Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge.
“With our lineup and how it sets up I think the nine hole is such a valuable spot,’’ Boone said of hitting Torres last, which he has done 35 times this season. “There will be a select day where I hit him fifth or sixth but to move him a spot or two, I think his value in the nine hole is significant and I think it has played out that way.’’
Torres went 1-for-4 with a homer in the Yankees’ 5-4 loss to the Nationals Wednesday night and is hitting .296 with 12 homers and 30 RBIs in 44 games.
According to general manager Brian Cashman, Masahiro Tanaka arrived at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday not feeling well and was sent home early. “Normal protocol’’ Cashman said. Tanaka is on the 10-day DL with two strained hamstrings.
Boone explained that Tanaka was bothered by an inner ear problem.