TAMPA, Fla. — The injury news on the pitching front for the Yankees on Saturday was moderately better than it was for the everyday lineup.
On the same day they announced that Luke Voit will be lost for a time to get a meniscus tear in his left knee repaired, the Yankees said righthanded prospect Clarke Schmidt has been placed on the 60-day injured list with a right elbow strain.
On Feb. 22, Aaron Boone said Schmidt, who came into camp as a dark-horse candidate to win the fifth starter job ultimately won by Domingo German, would be shut down "probably three to four weeks" with a right common extensor tendon issue. Boone at the time said the injury was not related to the area of Schmidt’s elbow that was repaired by Tommy John surgery in 2017, using "tennis elbow" as a comparable injury.
After Saturday’s game, Boone said the 60-day IL designation isn’t indicative of a new injury. It represents the amount of time it will take Schmidt to get ready after essentially missing the entire six weeks of spring training.
"He is getting very close. I know I’ve been saying that for a while," Boone said of Schmidt, 25, resuming a throwing program. "He’s got to get completely asymptomatic when he starts his throwing program again. We feel that’s very close . . . but he’s going to need that full spring training [to build up] for as long as he’s been down."
Gio Urshela had a bone chip removed from his right elbow early in December, and though the Yankees have said he is completely healthy, opposing team scouts have noticed a difference in some of the third baseman’s throws the last couple of weeks.
"His throws were significantly stronger two weeks ago," one American League scout who has followed the Yankees throughout spring training said Saturday. "Now he’s [coming] right over the top and his throws are sagging."
Urshela started at third Saturday, made two routine plays without issue and went 1-for-4 with a triple. He is hitting .162 with a .508 OPS.
Rather than have Jameson Taillon face the Blue Jays, a division rival, the Yankees had him throw a simulated game Saturday afternoon at the team’s minor-league complex for his final tuneup before the regular season.
"Seems like everything went well," Boone said of Taillon, who he estimated threw 75 to 80 pitches.
Gleyber Torres went 3-for-3 with two homers, a double and three RBIs in the Yankees' 5-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Saturday, giving him a .293 batting average and a 1.090 OPS. "I’m happy with where Gleyber is. Have been since Day 1 of spring training," Boone said. Torres homered and doubled against former Ward Melville star Anthony Kay. Mike Ford went 4-for-4 with a home run . . . The Yankees announced they have released Robinson Chirinos and Derek Dietrich from their minor-league contracts. Chirinos, 36, who caught Gerrit Cole with the 2019 Astros and worked well with him, suffered a fractured right wrist March 10 when he was hit by a pitch in a game against Baltimore. Dietrich, 31, whose lefthanded hitting and defensive flexibility appealed to the Yankees, never got it going in spring training.