Yanks to face Texas with injured players poised to return
Despite an offensive power outage against the Tampa Bay Rays earlier in the week, the New York Yankees have a couple of good things going for them as they arrive in Arlington, Texas, this weekend.
New York (102-57) scored a single run in 21 innings in two losses to the Rays on Tuesday and Wednesday, tallying only on Cameron Maybin’s home run in the first game, but the club is getting healthier as the playoffs draw near.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Wednesday that catcher Gary Sanchez (left groin) and Edwin Encarnacion (left oblique) will be in the lineup during the series against the Texas Rangers, which opens Friday night with an 8:05 ET first pitch at Globe Life Park.
Sanchez is expected to start and catch five innings on Friday, according to Boone. He added that Encarnacion will probably DH in two games and play first base in the other.
“I feel good. Everything I did, nothing bothered me,” said Sanchez, who has 34 homers in an All-Star season. “That is what you are looking for.”
Also, Boone said third baseman Gio Urshela (bruised hand) should play Friday, too.
But the news isn’t all good on the Yankees’ front.
In the battle for home-field advantage through the AL postseason, New York begins the weekend series knowing it needs to win all three games, and hope that the Houston Astros (104-55) lose all three to the host Los Angeles Angels. Should the Angels and Yankees finish with the same record, the Astros hold the tiebreaker by winning the seven-game season series 4-3.
Off the field, MLB and the MLB Players Association on Wednesday extended the administrative leave for starting pitcher Domingo German, accused of domestic abuse, through the season’s World Series, making him ineligible for the remainder of 2019.
James Paxton (15-6, 3.73) will start Friday, and the southpaw has posted a career-best 10-start winning streak.
In his lone start this season against the Rangers, on Sept. 3 in New York, he allowed just one hit and no runs, struck out 12 and earned his 12th victory. He is 3-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 14 careers starts against the AL West club.
The Rangers (76-83) won for just the second time in 11 games on Thursday, beating the visiting Boston Red Sox 7-5, but the day turned out to be a fun one.
While Willie Calhoun and Danny Santana led the offense, the day belonged to starting pitcher Mike Minor, who recorded his career-high 14th win.
Also, Minor reached the 200-strikeout mark for the first time. His previous high was 181 for Atlanta in 2013.
Minor was in line for the win and appeared done after Calhoun and Rougned Odor hit solo homers for the 7-5 lead in the bottom of the seventh.
However, he returned for the eighth to get one final K for the strikeout mark, but Boston’s first three batters were all retired on one-pitch at-bats in a three-pitch inning as the Red Sox oddly tried to keep Minor from reaching his goal.
Minor came out again for the ninth, and first baseman Ronald Guzman allowed an easy one-out popup by Chris Owings to drop foul for a second strike.
The lefty then fanned Owings, who hit a tying homer off him in the seventh, for the 200th K.
“There wasn’t much conversation until we got close to the strikeout total,” Minor said. “I knew the accomplishment was pretty close, so we wanted to keep on going out there.”
Stony Brook, N.Y., native Joe Palumbo (0-2, 9.22) will be seeking his first career win in his first appearance against the Yankees.
–Field Level Media