DUNEDIN, Fla. — Jameson Taillon isn’t sweating it.
Facing the young Blue Jays on Tuesday night? Maybe.
But not the prospect of playing in a Class A ballpark, the site of this series as COVID-19 protocols in Canada prevent Toronto from playing at Rogers Centre for at least the first half of the season.
"It’s a different setup here, the locker rooms are different than major-league standards and stuff, but I’ve pitched here in High-A in the Florida State League, I’ve thrown spring training games here before," Taillon said. "It sounds kind of cheesy, but you could put two major-league teams in a municipal park somewhere and we’re going to find a way to compete and make it work."
Taillon, still working his way back after the second Tommy John surgery of his career in August 2019, pitched reasonably well in his debut Wednesday. He allowed two runs, three hits and no walks in 4 2⁄3 innings, striking out seven.
Higgy with Cole — again
Boone said he considered pairing Gary Sanchez, who caught the entire series in St. Petersburg against the Rays, with Gerrit Cole on Monday night, but Sunday’s game going to a 10th inning made the decision for him.
"Once we had the extra innings, [that’s] pretty much a four-hour game behind the plate. It kind of took me out of having him catch today," Boone said.
Kyle Higashioka, of course, became Cole’s personal catcher late last season and into the playoffs. Boone said during spring training that his plan was to use both Sanchez and Higashioka with Cole. Counting Monday night, that made it 2-1 in favor of Higashioka, a number likely to increase in the latter’s favor as the season moves along.
Higashioka hit a two-run homer in the fifth and a solo shot in the eighth to account for all of the Yankees' runs in their 3-1 victory over the Blue Jays.
"He’s going to catch him down the road," Boone said of Sanchez. "Obviously, I like when Higgy and Cole are together and it’s a way to get Higgy in there, especially. But the length of yesterday’s game, coming off three in a row in Tampa, I felt it was best to do it this way today."
Flipping the script
With Toronto lefthander Robbie Ray on the mound, Boone had Aaron Judge, typically his No. 2 hitter, batting third Monday night with Giancarlo Stanton in the two-hole.
"It’s been a combo I’ve considered really all spring against lefthanded pitching and just felt like today was a good day to do that," Boone said. "Not much more to it than that."
Boone did explain more, though.
"Two great players getting up and obviously being the pretty righthanded-heavy team that we are, being able slot most of our righthanded hitters up a little bit in the order to try and maximize that against a tough lefthanded pitcher," he said. "So just something I’ve been considering really all spring."