Yankees to use spot starter against Rays on Friday to get starters extra day of rest

Kristie Ackert, New York Daily News
·3 min read

DUNEDIN, Fla. — The Yankees will give their starters an extra day of rest, using a spot starter to open the series with the Rays at Yankee Stadium on Friday night. They will start lefthander Jordan Montgomery on Saturday and then Gerrit Cole on Sunday.

“So they’ll all be on their sixth day and then with the off day coming after that. So with these off days that obviously helps to give guys a blow as we’re getting through April,” Yankee pitching coach Matt Blake said before Wednesday’s loss to the Blue Jays.

Michael King would be a strong candidate for a spot start, but Deivi Garcia, who was also being considered, made a start Wednesday in a game at the Alternate Site and probably would not be ready. Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa have been contributing to the Yankees’ already overworked bullpen. The Yankees optioned right-hander Albert Abreu, called up last week to give the bullpen a fresh arm, to the training site after Wednesday’s game.


There was much consternation before the season started about the baseballs that MLB tweaked this year, which were supposed to be less “bouncy” than the ones that were suspected of spiking home run rates since 2018. So far, Blake hasn’t seen too much difference.

“It’s been interesting, I didn’t think it was carrying very well when we were in New York and then in Tampa, it seemed to carry a little bit different,” Blake said. “I think across the league, it sounds like that the exit velocity is up, but it’s not necessarily carrying as far. So kind of mixed results right now, from what I’ve seen.” Overall, Blake said the pitchers have found the new balls fine to work with.

“The early read was that it was positive like they didn’t feel like it was a cue-ball like you had in the past so guys could feel the seams,” Blake said. “They felt like they could spin it a little bit better, since those first couple outings. When we were in New York, it felt like maybe there wasn’t enough mud on the ball. So there was some inconsistency there. But that’s all part of it. I think overall guys feel like the ball is net neutral-net positive, just kind of a minor adjustment. So hasn’t been too much of a concern.”


Tuesday night, with a chance to tie the game in the eighth inning, Gary Sanchez ran the Yankees into a third out. He got caught trying to take second base on a wild pitch, which stayed close to Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen, who easily threw him out. It was the fifth costly base-running mistake for the Yankees this season.

So Aaron Boone and his coaches spent a lot of time going over it in the wake of the loss and gave equal blame to Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton, who was on second and headed for third, but hesitated.

“Really it comes down to if you really break that way down, he’s in a really tough spot there, as the trail runner there, almost like in a double steel situation,” the Yankee manager said. " We broke it down, all (the coaches) kind of looking at that play from a lot of different angles and having a lot of different conversations with Gary.”

They saw Stanton hesitate and froze Sanchez, who is not the fastest player.

“So it’s an awful way to end an inning when you’re chasing, obviously. It’s a bad look 1/4 u201a” Boone concluded, “but if you really break down that play and look at it more, it’s, it’s kind of wonky in a tough spot especially for Gary as a trail runner there.”