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Rookies Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge deliver in heart of the order

New York Yankees designated hitter Gary Sanchez is

New York Yankees designated hitter Gary Sanchez is greeted in the dugout after his solo home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the second inning of an MLB baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

So much for easing the kids in.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi on Wednesday hit Gary Sanchez cleanup and Aaron Judge fifth in a 7-4 loss to the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. And they both delivered.

Girardi had been using the rookie sluggers lower in the order. But with lefthander J.A. Happ on the mound, Girardi took the wraps off what the Yankees hope are their middle-of-the-order hitters of the future.

Sanchez went 2-for-3, including his third homer in two games and fifth in 48 at-bats. Starting as the designated hitter, Sanchez hit a shot onto the netting over Monument Park leading off the second. He also walked and singled. Sanchez is batting .360.

Judge went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two strikeouts and is batting .389.

Girardi didn’t commit to using the youngsters in the prime lineup spots for more than one game.

“Obviously, your goal over time is they can be productive middle-of-the-order hitters,” Girardi said. “But I’m not ready to put that pressure on them.”

The other Yankees top prospect, Tyler Austin, returned to the lineup at first base and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts from the seventh spot. He is batting .250.

Girardi has made Sanchez the starting catcher over Brian McCann, but he is not ready to do the same with Austin over the retiring Mark Teixeira. Girardi said he still plans to play Teixeira, with Austin getting some time at first. He also said he expects to have McCann take ground balls at first.

Ups and downs

Brett Gardner returned after missing four games with a sprained ankle and went 1-for-4 . . . After facing four batters and not retiring any of them on Tuesday, Chasen Shreve was sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre . . . Righthander Kirby Yates was recalled and threw a scoreless inning in relief of CC Sabathia.


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