Yankees' up-and-comers keeping a few others down

Yankees' up-and-comers keeping a few others down

NEW YORK — Between cranking second-deck homers and reveling once again in the adoration of Yankee Stadium’s Bleacher Creatures, former New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher spent part of this past weekend doing something else he loves to do: talking.

When it came to raving about the parade of young, up-and-coming stars who have spent time in the Bronx this spring, he just couldn’t shut his mouth.

“It’s almost like our Triple-A roster is a major league roster,” the always energetic Swisher said at Sunday’s Old-Timers’ Day festivities, chuckling as the octaves in his voice went up. “It’s almost like we’re running out of space … which is a good problem to have.”

Good problem for the organization, yes. Bad problem at the moment for certain players who have been stuck in the minor leagues because of the top-to-bottom depth the Yankees have at a number of positions.

But hey, that’s business and baseball.

With the likes of 21-year-old Gleyber Torres and 23-year-old Miguel Andujar excelling and contributing to the Yankees’ early-season success, opportunities have dried up for some others.

“I mean, these kids are so good nowadays. Everywhere from rookie ball up to Triple-A,” Swisher said. “It’s amazing to see the talent level.”

In addition to Torres and Andujar, rookie pitchers Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga — two starters coming off solid performances in winning their previous outings — will headline the group of young talent the hot Seattle Mariners will face when they visit the Yankees for a three-game series beginning Tuesday.

As for those the Mariners won’t see? Brandon Drury, Tyler Austin and Ronald Torreyes are a few of the Triple-A players even general manager Brian Cashman has said deserve to be big leaguers.

Lately, the effects of New York’s talent backlog at the major and minor league levels has tested the patience of a few deserving players.

Outfielder Clint Frazier, another player who was on Cashman’s list before he was called up Monday, admitted feeling a little weary of the lack of big league playing time he has had this year. While proclaiming his pride in the way the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders have performed this season, like any hungry young ballplayer, he wants it known that he’d rather be with the Yankees on a more regular basis.

“It’s hard not to be unhappy about the situation,” Frazier said, “but I’m just happy now that I’ve got a change of scenery.”

Barring a disabled list stint for veteran Brett Gardner, who is nursing a sore knee, Frazier likely will be up for only a couple of days before heading back to the minor leagues. He has been in four major league games this year and has played 42 in the minors.

In Monday night’s makeup game against the Washington Nationals, Frazier led off the seventh inning by getting hit by a pitch to spark a rally that gave the Yankees a necessary insurance run in the 4-2 win.

Back at Yankee Stadium on Old-Timers’ Day, it was clear that while pausing to celebrate the past, some former Yankees icons were eager to discuss their team’s future.

“They’ve got these great young talents and veteran pitching, great bullpen. They have all the makings of a championship team, no doubt about it,” said Jason Giambi, who was a three-time All-Star when he played in New York between 2002 and ’08.

Former second baseman Willie Randolph raved about Torres, a rookie whose bat has made Yankees fans giddy. Often, it seems when the Yankees have needed a clutch hit, Torres has been there to deliver. He has three game-winning hits and has hit 13 home runs since he was called up from Triple-A in April.

“All these things are there,” Randolph said. “He’s got great hands, you can see that he’s not intimidated with the moment. All the things you like to see in a young player, he has.”

Torres’ offense isn’t his only tool. He has the kind of range that can put a lot of second basemen to shame, and he has the kind of arm that could make some shortstops envious. His overall game has placed him in the early Rookie of the Year race.

Randolph agrees such glowing praise might be appropriate for Torres in time, but he wants the baseball world to go a little easy on hyping the up-and-coming star.

“Kind of take the time and let him develop,” Randolph said. “We sometimes in this town and this culture we live in, we anoint greatness too quickly. He’s a really fine player with a great young talent, and I just enjoy watching him do his thing. So all I’m saying to you is, enjoy this ride that this kid is taking you on. He’s the future of the franchise.”

Rest assured, Swisher, named this offseason to a special advisory role that has him spending time with the minor leaguers, will be enjoying the ride Torres and the rest of the young Yankees take him on, wherever it might lead.

“They’ve got the ‘it’ factor,” Swisher said. “For myself to be part of the band again and to enjoy these guys and to watch these guys have success, it’s been a lot of fun.”

Mariners to measure themselves against Yankees

Mariners to measure themselves against Yankees

NEW YORK — Comeback wins and one-run victories are defining the Seattle Mariners‘ climb to the top of the American League West.

Down to the wire and tight ballgames are bringing out a team Seattle fans have not seen in some time.

Now the Mariners get a chance to see how they stack up with the best team in baseball Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series with the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

The Mariners head to New York with a major-league-best 23 one-run wins and 21 comeback victories. Since May 18, they are 14-3 in one-game games and are 20 games over. 500 at 46-26, their third-best record through 72 games behind the 2003 and 2001 editions.

Despite striking out 11 times in Sunday’s 9-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox, the Mariners are 13-4 in their last 17 games, 32-15 in their last 55 and their 28 wins since May 8 are the most in baseball.

“We’ll see them again next week in Boston and I think the guys are looking forward to it. I know they are,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “This stretch in our schedule, everybody looked at it early on and, ‘Oh, it’s going to be tough. You guys haven’t played anybody.’ But we’re just fine. You have to play the schedule. We don’t make it, we just play it. And we’re looking forward to the trip out East.”

Despite Seattle’s first loss by more than three runs since May 29, there were plenty of memorable moments during the seven-game homestand that also coincided with the Houston Astros winning 11 straight.

There was Mitch Haniger’s walk-off homer to complete the sweep of the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, the four-run comeback Friday and the 1-0 win highlighted by Wade LeBlanc’s performance Saturday night.

“We get down 3-1 and we are kind of looking around there, and in years past it kind of would have been a different feeling in the dugout there,” Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager told reporters. “There’s really not a lot of panic with this team. It’s just a different team.”

The Yankees are coming off a brief trip to Washington for a makeup of a suspended game followed the makeup of a rainout. They dropped the resumption of the suspended game 5-3 when Chad Green allowed a two-run homer to Juan Soto in the sixth and posted a 4-2 victory in the makeup game as Giancarlo Stanton had four hits.

Stanton’s third four-hit night occurred after he was 2-for-13 in the four-game series at Yankee Stadium. Stanton is hitting .212 (29-for-137) with seven homers and 19 RBIs at home this season.

Overall, the Yankees (47-22) are 14-4 in their last 18 games since May 22.

New York played without left fielder Brett Gardner the last two games because of knee pain. He is day to day, but the Yankees called up Clint Frazier on Monday.

“We’ve had timely hits, big hits, guys step up,” Stanton said Saturday. “We haven’t all clicked at the same time. Once that happens and we’re on all cylinders, there’s more room to get better.”

Seattle owns a team ERA of 3.86 and left-hander Marco Gonzales, who starts the opener, has been its hottest pitcher. He is 4-0 with a 1.41 ERA in his last six starts. During those outings, hitters are batting .204 against him.

Gonzales last pitched in Wednesday’s 8-6 win over the Angels when he allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings. It was only the second time in his last 10 starts Gonzales did not complete six innings.

Gonzales is making his 29th career start and first against the Yankees.

Domingo German will make his eighth start and is hoping to get the Mariners to swing and miss as much as the Tampa Bay Rays did last Thursday in his first career win. In a 4-3 victory, he became the sixth pitcher to get at least 26 swings and misses this season while allowing three runs and five hits in six innings.

“He’s matured every start,” Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres said of German. “Every day is better and better. He does the job. I think that’s what’s most important.”

German is 1-3 with a 5.77 ERA in seven career starts and is making his first appearance against the Mariners.

“It’s been a long battle for me,” German said through an interpreter before getting the ball from the game presented to him by pitching coach Larry Rothchild. “To be able to win my first game in the big leagues, it means a lot. Hopefully, I can relax a little more after getting the first one and keep battling.”

Hicks' HR helps Yanks top Nats 4-2 for split on odd day

Hicks' HR helps Yanks top Nats 4-2 for split on odd day

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Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto celebrates his two-run home run during the sixth inning of the continuation of a suspended baseball game against the New York Yankees, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Washington. This game is a continuation of a suspended game from May 15. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Aaron Hicks‘ go-ahead two-run homer sparked chants of ”Let’s go, Yankees!” on the road and helped New York beat Washington 4-2 in the second game of an unusual semi-doubleheader Monday, after pinch-hitter Juan Soto‘s tiebreaking two-run shot for the Nationals won the opener 5-3.

These games originally were scheduled more than a month ago, and Game 1 resumed after being suspended because of rain in the middle of the sixth – so technically, Soto managed to homer in a game played before he made his major league debut.

Huh?

The 19-year-old Soto was called up from the minors for the first time five days after Game 1 started on May 15; it picked back up at 3-all and the Nationals about to bat in the bottom of the sixth. After Bryce Harper – who had a full beard back on May 15, when the game began, but was clean-shaven this time – struck out, and Anthony Rendon singled, Soto drove a 97 mph fastball from Chad Green (4-1) to the back of the second deck in right field.

”I thought he had a good chance to hit the ball hard,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. ”That was hard.”

It was Soto’s sixth homer since he was brought up from Double-A Harrisburg on May 20 – and second against the Yankees. Soto stood and admired this one before beginning his trot around the bases.

”A pitch right in his hot zone. Soto got us again,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. ”Obviously a really good looking player. Two pretty big shots he’s hit against us.”

Soto also was involved in a double play while playing left in the seventh. Didi Gregorius lined to Soto, and he lobbed the ball to shortstop Trea Turner, who sprinted to second base to double off Gary Sanchez.

Soto’s stats – and all others from Game 1 – will count as being part of the originally scheduled game on May 15, but Soto’s official debut will still be considered to have happened on the actual date it happened, according to the Nationals, citing the Elias Sports Bureau.

”I wish he was climbing the ladder more routinely. He should be in about Double-A now,” Boone said. ”What can you say? Nineteen and obviously doing really well.”

Wander Suero (1-0) got the win for 1 1-3 scoreless innings – one inning on May 15, and one out on Monday.

Sean Doolittle struck out Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton and got Gary Sanchez to fly out to center in the ninth for his 18th save.

The Nationals had lost five of six games entering the day.

Game 2, which was completely rained out May 16, began a half-hour after Game 1 finished, and Washington led 2-1 before Hicks’ ninth homer, which came in the fifth against Erick Fedde (0-2) and got plenty of Yankees fans in the sellout crowd of 42,723 excited – and loud.

The rookie righty lost to the Yankees for the second time in less than a week, giving up three runs in 5 1-3 innings this time.

Stanton provided some cushion with an RBI double off Sammy Solis in the seventh on a day the Nationals added relief help by acquiring Kelvin Herrera in a trade with the Kansas City Royals.

Sonny Gray (5-4) allowed two runs in five-plus innings, with Mark Reynolds driving in both, via a groundout in the second and a sacrifice fly in the fourth. Washington put runners on the corners with no outs in the sixth against Gray, but Jonathan Holder came on in relief and got three quick outs, striking out Reynolds and pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy before getting Pedro Severino to pop out.

In the ninth, Aroldis Chapman pitched around Murphy’s double and a walk for his 21st save, getting Turner to fly out to a backpedaling right fielder Aaron Judge to end it.

HARPER’S DAY

Harper’s batting average is .212 after he went 0 for 5 on Monday, with two strikeouts, three groundouts and a walk. He has one hit in his last 27 at-bats.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: OF Brett Gardner didn’t play, a day after an MRI exam showed swelling in his right knee. Boone doesn’t expect Gardner to go on the DL. … With Gardner’s status uncertain, the Yankees recalled OF Clint Frazier from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre and optioned INF Ronald Torreyes there.

Nationals: RHP Jeremy Hellickson, on the DL for two weeks with a strained right hamstring, took fielding practice before the start of play Monday and said he ”felt fine.” Hellickson has taken two bullpen sessions and ”felt 100 percent,” so expects to be able to return soon. … 1B Matt Adams was ”still a little sore” after getting hit by a pitch on a finger Friday and did not play.

UP NEXT

The Nationals open a three-game series at home against Baltimore on Tuesday, and Martinez has not announced who his starter will be. The Yankees return to New York for a three-game set against Seattle, with RHP Domingo German (1-4, 5.23 ERA) pitching on Tuesday against Mariners LHP Marco Gonzalez (7-3, 3.42).

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

More AP Baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Soto's 2-run HR lifts Nats past Yanks 5-3 in resumed Game 1

Soto's 2-run HR lifts Nats past Yanks 5-3 in resumed Game 1

Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto celebrates his two-run home run during the sixth inning of the continuation of a suspended baseball game against the New York Yankees, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Washington. This game is a continuation of a suspended game from May 15. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Juan Soto‘s pinch-hit two-run homer in the sixth inning of a game that began and was suspended because of rain last month, five days before he made his major league debut, lifted the Washington Nationals to a 5-3 victory over the New York Yankees in the opener of an unusual doubleheader Monday.

Game 1 resumed with the score 3-all and the Nationals about to bat in the bottom of the sixth. After Bryce Harper – who had a full beard back on May 15, when the game began, but was clean-shaven this time – struck out, and Anthony Rendon singled, Soto drove a 97 mph fastball from Chad Green (4-1) to the back of the second deck in right field.

It was the 19-year-old outfielder’s sixth homer since he was called up from Double-A Harrisburg on May 20. Soto stood and admired the shot before beginning his trot around the bases.

His stats – and all others from Game 1 – will count as being part of the originally scheduled game on May 15, but Soto’s official debut will still be considered on the actual date it happened, according to the Nationals, citing the Elias Sports Bureau.

Another oddity: The loss means the Yankees’ streak of winning eight consecutive series now gets retroactively shortened to seven series.

Wander Suero (1-0) got the win for 1 1-3 scoreless innings – one inning on May 15, and one out on Monday.

Sean Doolittle struck out Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton and got Gary Sanchez to fly out to center in the ninth for his 18th save.

Game 2, which was completely rained out May 16, was to begin a half-hour after Game 1 finished, with Washington’s Erick Fedde facing New York’s Sonny Gray.

The Nationals had lost five of six games entering the day.

In the month-plus since the games were supposed to be played, both teams’ rosters changed, of course. Aside from Soto’s arrival, two position players who started the game for Washington, Howie Kendrick (out for the season with an injury) and Andrew Stevenson (demoted to the minors) are no longer around. For the Yankees, their original starter at first base, Tyler Austin, is in the minors.

Not exactly your average doubleheader for a couple of rookie skippers, New York’s Aaron Boone and Washington’s Dave Martinez.

”Really odd. We’re kind of looking at our old lineup cards, trying to make sense of them. Seeing who might go in their spots, (who isn’t) on the team anymore,” Boone said. ”I think we figured it all out to a degree, but it’s been an odd day looking at it all.”

Martinez said the closest thing he could compare this situation to was Game 5 of the 2008 World Series, when the Tampa Bay Rays – he was Joe Maddon’s bench coach then – wound up losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in a contest that began on a Monday, was halted in the sixth inning because of rain, and concluded on a Wednesday.

”It’s weird, man,” Martinez said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: OF Brett Gardner was not listed in the lineup for Game 2 because an MRI exam showed swelling in his right knee, although Boone said he didn’t expect Gardner to go on the DL. Gardner was not available for Game 1 because he already had pinch-hit before play was halted last month. … With Gardner’s status uncertain, the Yankees recalled OF Clint Frazier from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre and optioned INF Ronald Torreyes down to that minor league affiliate.

Nationals: RHP Jeremy Hellickson, on the DL for two weeks with a strained right hamstring, took fielding practice before the start of play Monday and said he ”felt fine.” Hellickson has taken two bullpen sessions and ”felt 100 percent,” so expects to be able to return soon. Martinez said Hellickson might throw a simulated game Tuesday. … 1B Matt Adams was ”still a little sore” after getting hit by a pitch on a finger Friday and was a ”game-time decision,” Martinez said. Adams was pinch-hit for by Soto in Game 1.

MAKING MOVES

The teams were allowed to add a 26th man to the game-day roster, and both chose a pitcher: Giovanny Gallegos for the Yankees, Austin Voth for the Nationals.

UP NEXT

The Nationals open a three-game series at home against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, and Martinez has not yet announced who his starter will be. The Yankees return to New York for a three-game set against Seattle, with RHP Domingo German (1-4, 5.23 ERA) pitching on Tuesday against Mariners LHP Marco Gonzalez (7-3, 3.42).

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

More AP Baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Yanks' Frazier frustrated with Triple-A time

Yanks' Frazier frustrated with Triple-A time

WASHINGTON — Clint Frazier feels fortunate to wear his New York Yankees uniform again for the next couple of days, but he was frank Monday when asked about his growing frustration with spending the bulk of the season at Triple-A.

“It’s in the back of your mind every time you turn the TV on or every time you walk in the stadium down there [at Triple-A],” the 23-year-old outfielder said. “It’s hard not to be unhappy about the situation, but I’m just happy now that I’ve got a change of scenery.”

Frazier, who has played in 42 games at the minor league level this season, was called up to the big league club Monday as the Yankees visited the Washington Nationals. The Yankees and Nationals were resuming a game that was suspended in the sixth inning May 15 and making up another that was rained out a day later.

Frazier was on the 25-man roster for both weather-affected games last month, and he has appeared in three other major league contests this season. Although the Yankees plan to bring him back to New York for a three-game home series with the Seattle Mariners beginning Tuesday, Frazier likely will be back at Triple-A in a few days. His presence this week is to give the Yankees an additional outfielder as Brett Gardner rests a sore knee. The team isn’t anticipating that Gardner will go on the disabled list.

Because he has mostly been called up to give the Yankees some added roster depth due to either doubleheaders or long stretches of games without days off, Frazier jokingly gave himself an award Monday.

“I’m the 26th Man of the Year,” he said.

While the comment elicited laughs from reporters, it belied some deeper feelings he and other players are sharing in Triple-A.

“We’ve been, all of us, have been hanging out and trying to cope with the feeling of being down there every night,” Frazier said.

Last week, Triple-A third baseman Brandon Drury told The Athletic: “I don’t belong down here at all.”

After a minor league rehab assignment April 25 while dealing with problems related to blurred vision, Drury was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on May 14. Although his vision issue has cleared and he’s fully healthy, he has been down there ever since.

At Triple-A, Drury has been hitting well. In 39 games, he has batted. 360 with four homers, 12 doubles, 25 RBIs and a .976 OPS. He also has gotten defensive work at first base in an effort of continuing to showcase a measure of in-field versatility.

On Monday, he earned International League Player of the Week honors.

Like Drury, Frazier has excelled at Triple-A. In 38 games there, he’s batting .312 with seven home runs, 11 doubles, 11 RBIs and a .947 OPS.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman hears and understands their frustrations. Last weekend, Cashman told reporters he recognized that Frazier would be “crushing it up here, whether it be for us or somewhere else.” He added, “Obviously Brandon Drury doesn’t belong down there.”

The past two seasons, Drury was an everyday starter for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was traded to the Yankees at the start of spring training.

“You tell them to try not to let this affect how you go about your business because that’ll just make things worse while you’re going through it,” Cashman said. “And see what happens. Force your way back up here, see what’s going on up here, wait for the injury to hit.”

It was Drury’s vision problems that forced rookie Miguel Andujar to play third while Drury spent time on the DL. Andujar got hot, collecting a bevy of extra-base hits. He leads the Yankees in doubles with 22, is tied for the team lead with two triples and has eight home runs.

Frustrated as Drury might be, he has a patient approach that Frazier has started trying to follow himself.

“Drury told me the other day he has a quote on his phone or something that says, ‘Sometimes when you think you’re buried, try to change your mind and realize you’ve been planted,'” Frazier said. “He’s planted there for a reason, and he’s got a cool mindset.

“Everyone’s chances will come.”

Yankees, Nationals pick up where they left off in May

Yankees, Nationals pick up where they left off in May

WASHINGTON — On what was supposed to be a day off, the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals will try on Monday to finish what they started in May.

The Yankees travel to Nationals Park to complete a game halted by rain on May 15 with the score tied 3-3. The teams will then make up a game that was rained out on May 16.

Slumping Bryce Harper gets the game restarted when he leads off the bottom of the sixth inning.

New York’s Sonny Gray (4-4, 4.98 ERA) opposes Erick Fedde (0-1, 5.91) 30 minutes after the completion of the suspended game

Both teams are coming off a loss, though for the Yankees it’s a blip and for the Nationals a trend.

Washington (37-31) completed a five-game trip through American League parks with an 8-6 loss at Toronto. The Nationals went 1-4 on the trip, ending with a sweep at the hands of the Blue Jays.

After failing to score in three of their previous five games, the Nationals produced 13 hits Sunday, only to see rare poor performances from a starter and a late-inning reliever.

Tanner Roark lasted just four innings and reliever Ryan Madson allowed two homers in the eighth inning, the first he has given up since June 4, 2017, when he was a member of the Oakland A’s and Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman homered.

“You never want to get swept, but I’m glad we swung the bats today,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez told MASN.com. “We haven’t been swinging very well. … I’ll take our chances every time we score six runs, I really will. I’m proud of them, they didn’t give up, they fought the whole game.”

Roark’s short outing came at a particularly bad time. The Nationals used four relievers Sunday and the pitching staff is looking at 12 or more innings of work Monday.

“I stunk today,” Roark told MASN.com. “Didn’t really have much working for me.”

Anthony Rendon, Brian Goodwin and Wilmer Difo each collected two hits, but Harper went 0-for-5. He is now batting .163 (7-for-43) in June with four walks and 20 strikeouts.

The Yankees (46-21) dropped a 3-1 decision to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday but have won 13 of their last 17. That includes splitting two games with the Nationals last week.

CC Sabathia was the hard-luck loser Sunday when the Yankees went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

“Always,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters when asked if he expected three runs not to be enough against his team.

“And that’s no disrespect ever to the opponent, it’s just I always know that we’re some traffic away from popping one,” he added. “We had a little traffic and threw some hits out there, but we just couldn’t get over the hump. They held us down and kept us at bay today.”

The Yankees (.687) remained ahead of the 49-24 Red Sox (.671) in the AL East. New York leads the majors in runs per game, homers, homers per game, slugging percentage and OPS.

That’s despite the continue struggles of Giancarlo Stanton (.243), who went 1-for-3 Sunday with a walk and two strikeouts.

“He’s still working to be ‘on time’ and get started to his rhythm of hitting. … That’s what he’s struggled with: consistently being on time. That’s when you have a tendency to expand or be behind on the fastball or behind on the breaking ball,” Boone told MLB.com.

However, Stanton is hitting .279 (34-for-122) with nine homers and 18 RBIs away from Yankee Stadium. And at Nationals Park, he has a career average of .289 with 20 homers and 41 RBIs in 54 games.

Gray is 0-0 with a 4.74 ERA in three starts against the Nationals. He gave up a three-run homer to rookie Juan Soto last Wednesday in a 5-4 loss to Washington when he allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings.

Fedde gave up four runs and six hits in five innings in a no-decision last week at Yankee Stadium.