Alex Rodriguez was not in the Yankees’ lineup Sunday, but manager Joe Girardi did not classify the decision as one intended to rest the soon-to-be-41-year-old.
Instead, Girardi said part of the reason he took a seat against Minnesota’s Tyler Duffey, who entered with a 6.18 ERA, was his struggles against righthanders.
“That has something to do with it,” Girardi said. “He has struggled against some righthanders and we’ll see what this looks like.”
Rodriguez is batting .200 against righties and .275 vs. lefties. But Duffey hadn’t exactly proved to be tough against righties: They were batting .311 with a .904 OPS against him.
Duffey, however, held the Yankees to a run and two hits in eight innings in the Twins’ 7-1 win. Duffey, who struck out eight, was perfect until Aaron Hicks doubled with two outs in the sixth.
Carlos Beltran started as the DH with Hicks in right. “We talked about giving Carlos some DH days in this long stretch,” Girardi said. “And I’d probably be more inclined to do it against righthanders than lefthanders . . . It’s trying to keep Carlos’ bat in the lineup as much as we can.”
Cessa back with big club
Luis Cessa was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as the Yankees continue to search for relievers to supplement the Big Three.
Cessa was up twice before but was used in only three games. Now it appears as if he will get a real look. He allowed a solo homer by Eduardo Nuñez in 1 2⁄3 innings Sunday. “He’s got a good arm and we think he can help us in the bullpen,” Girardi said.
Nick Goody was optioned to Scranton.
Another good arm the Yankees think might be able to help them in the bullpen is, surprisingly, Luis Severino. The righthander, who started the season in the rotation and got rocked, is improving at Triple-A, but not enough for the Yankees to consider bringing him back as a starter. But Girardi didn’t rule out using him as a bullpen arm down the road.
“He is making progress,” Girardi said, “but the consistency is not where we want it to be.”
One righthander whom the Yankees aren’t counting on is Bryan Mitchell, who is recovering from toe surgery. Girardi seemed to rule out having Mitchell this season, but general manager Brian Cashman said he ”may get back.”
All rise? Judge trending up
Girardi praised slugging outfielder Aaron Judge, who has been on a tear at Triple-A. The 6-7, 275-pound Judge, who has hit six homers in his last eight games, has a .345/.467/.701 slash line in June, with eight homers in 87 at-bats. Overall, he is hitting .266 with 15 homers and 45 RBIs in 72 games. “We’ve been paying attention,” Girardi said. “What Judge has done is impressive, and it’s not just fastballs. It’s been on breaking balls as well.”