The Yankees’ first encounter with the new MLB sticky-substance checks for pitchers was uneventful.
With Gerrit Cole – whose name has been at the center of the recent controversy – starting Tuesday’s series opener against the Royals, perhaps that was to be expected.
At least one ex-Yankee, on the other hand, had a rather adventuresome Tuesday night with umpires checking for foreign substances.
After Phillies manager Joe Girardi requested a third check on Max Scherzer in Philadelphia’s 3-2 loss to Washington, things became heated. Scherzer, who had removed his cap and run a hand through his hair, became animated and threw his hat and glove to the ground.
Girardi also had a shouting exchange with Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long (with whom he had worked in the Bronx) before being ejected.
Folks with their former club took notice.
“Obviously, some controversy with the Washington-Philly game,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone acknowledged Wednesday. “It’s a tough spot for umpires to be in; tough spot for pitchers to be in, coming in when you’re competing at the highest level… and all of a sudden, you’re getting searched in a weird kind of way.
“I think that’s all going to take a little bit of getting used to for everyone,” Boone said. “Hopefully it’s off to a decent start, and we get to a place where we’re better as a sport for it.”
Michael King was slated to start Game 2 of the Kansas City series on Wednesday, followed by Jameson Taillon in Thursday’s finale.
“We’re going to see the instances where it probably doesn’t go as smoothly,” Taillon said of the substance checks. “But, just from kind of keeping tabs across the league, it seems like, more times than not, it was going smoothly.
“Hopefully, in a couple weeks, it just becomes first-nature and we don’t even notice it anymore.”
Day off for Urshela
Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela was given a day to rest after being hit in the leg by a Jake Brentz pitch in the seventh inning Tuesday’s 6-5 loss to the Royals.
Urshela stayed in until the ninth, when Miguel Andújar came in to run for him following a single.
“He had X-rays, which were negative,” Boone said. “It’s… more in the muscle, so he’s pretty sore.”
The manager categorized Urshela as “day to day” but did not anticipate the need for a trip to the injured list.
Sneak peek in center?
Aaron Judge was given another start in center field on Wednesday, and with depth at the position so thin, it appears the club is seeking creative solutions.
Yankees radio host Sweeny Murti noted that shortstop prospect Hoy Jun Park started in center field for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday. The 25-year-old is hitting .323 with seven homers and 24 RBI for the RailRiders this season.
“He has worked a little bit out there [in CF], so that’s part of his skillset,” Boone said of Park. “Obviously, he’s doing very well down there, so getting him some reps and keeping that versatility in play for him has been important.”
There are no concrete plans to promote Park yet, and as Boone said, “we’ll talk through that. Player development obviously has a giant say in that as well. So, we’ll lean on them.”