Although Austin Romine said his hamstring was feeling better Wednesday, he again was held out of the Yankees’ lineup to get an extra day of rest.
“I think I could play. I played in a game the other day and caught a 104-mile-per-hour fastball,” said Romine, who left Saturday’s game and has been out of the starting lineup since then with a left hamstring injury. He did enter Monday’s game in the top of the ninth and went 0-for-1 in the Yankees’ 5-3, 11-inning loss to the Braves.
Kyle Higashioka started in place of Romine again on Wednesday and hit his third homer in four games in the Yankees’ 6-2 win over the Braves.
Romine said Wednesday that his hamstring feels “really good today” and there have not been any setbacks. An MRI came back negative, but Aaron Boone told reporters he wanted to give Romine back-to-back days off ahead of the team’s upcoming 11-game road trip. Thursday is the team’s last scheduled off day before the All-Star break from July 16-19.
Starting catcher Gary Sanchez is on the disabled list with a groin strain, which elevated Romine to the starting role. “He’s so important to us the next couple of weeks that, with the off day, I don’t want to push him,” Boone said. “[Higashioka] has done a nice job in there for us. Basically just trying to steal another day, because we’ll lean on [Romine] pretty heavily on this next road trip.”
Romine, who is hitting .271 with an .805 OPS, said he understood the decision but said it still was “frustrating.”
“I definitely want to play,” he said. “You see the type of team that’s here. You want to be out there as much as you can.”
Pitchers continue to excel with RISP
Although the Yankees’ recent hitting with runners in scoring position has been the cause of some concern, their opponents have fared even worse.
Atlanta went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners Wednesday. Opponents entered Sunday with a .196 batting average with runners in scoring position against the Yankees, the lowest in the majors against any team.
Record home run pace continues
Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Higashioka homered for the Yankees, who are on pace to hit 278 home runs and break the all-time mark of 264 set by the 1997 Mariners. The Yankees have hit 17 home runs in the last six games and 13 in the last four.
Masahiro Tanaka (strained hamstrings) struck out four in five innings in a rehab start against the Buffalo Bisons for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday night. He allowed three hits and walked none. After giving up a two-run homer in the first inning, Tanaka, who threw 69 pitches, retired 12 straight.