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Jonathan Loaisiga draws comparison to Mariano Rivera from Rays manager

Jonathan Loaisiga #38 of the New York Yankees

Jonathan Loaisiga #38 of the New York Yankees pitches in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, June 15, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash was high on praise — and hyperbole — in describing Jonathan Loaisiga’s pitching performance last Friday night in his major league debut for the Yankees.

Loaisiga is scheduled to start Wednesday night against Felix Hernandez.

“He looked like a young Mariano Rivera,’’ Cash said. “Hopefully, he doesn’t develop a cutter or anything.”

The 23-year-old Loaisiga, up from Double-A Trenton, threw five scoreless innings to earn the victory.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone was not about to go overboard when told of the comparison to Rivera, the former Yankees closer and likely first-ballot Hall of Famer in the class of 2019.

“I’m not going to get into those comparisons,’’ Boone said. “I thought he did really well. I thought he handled himself really well. Really, the only blip was the four walks, which is uncharacteristic for him. Again, it wasn’t a case of him being wild or anything. I think it was just a case of him maybe going for some chase pitches that in the minor leagues tend to get chases, whereas up here obviously there’s a little more discipline.

“Even though I thought he tired a lot in the fifth, still able to have a clean inning there. So, just really proud of his effort . . . Just happy for him to come up here and contribute.’’

Loaisiga appreciated Cash’s comments.

“It’s an honor being compared to someone like that,” Loaisiga said through an interpreter. “Mariano is one of the best pitchers in the history of baseball.’’

New York Sports