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Aaron Boone: Sonny Gray is close to putting it all together

Yankees manager says “It’s tough to pitch when you’re behind. It’s a lot easier when you’re ahead.”

New York Yankees starting pitcher Sonny Gray delivers

New York Yankees starting pitcher Sonny Gray delivers to a New York Yankees batter during the first inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston on Thursday, April 12, 2018. Photo Credit: AP / Winslow Townson

Sonny Gray and his 8.27 ERA will take the mound on Wednesday night against the Twins as the Yankees try again to see if they have fixed their struggling righthander.

Gray’s much-ballyhooed mechanical adjustments didn’t pan out in his last outing as he was raked by the Blue Jays. Manager Aaron Boone said he thinks Gray is “close” to being the pitcher the Yankees acquired from the A’s last summer.

“I think the stuff is there,” Boone said on Tuesday night. “It’s tough to pitch when you’re behind. It’s a lot easier when you’re ahead, especially when you have the equipment that Sonny has. I feel like he’s really close to putting it together and having a good outing.”

Pitcher swap

David Hale, who threw two shutout innings in his Yankees debut on Monday, was designated for assignment after the game so the team could add righthander A.J. Cole to the roster.

The Yankees acquired Cole late Monday from the Nationals in exchange for cash considerations. Cole, 26, was 1-1 with a 13.06 ERA in four appearances (two starts) this season. He has appeared in 26 games for the Nationals in the last four seasons and is 5-8 with a 5.32 ERA. Cole was in the bullpen for Tuesday night’s game.

“We do feel like there’s some upside from a stuff standpoint,” Boone said. “He’s a guy that throws pretty hard with a good breaking ball. Hoping that maybe a change of scenery or something maybe is a spark for him that can give us something.”

Extra bases

CC Sabathia passed Jim Bunning for 17th place on the all-time strikeout list. Sabathia, who struck out four, has 2,858. Bunning had 2,855 . . . Gary Sanchez (two home runs) has nine multi-homer games in his first 196 games, the most in that span in baseball history . . . Aaron Judge hit his 63rd home run in his 204th game to become the fastest to 63 in big-league history. Mark McGwire hit his 63rd in his 207th game . . . The Yankees are 17-5 and 11-1 at home (including postseason) against the Twins since the start of the 2015 season.

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