BALTIMORE — Aaron Boone called it “another one of those awful decisions,’’ meaning a difficult one.
Brandon Drury no doubt saw it as just awful, period.
After the Yankees’ 5-4 loss to the Orioles in Game 1 of Monday’s doubleheader, the reserve infielder was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room for Game 2 starter Luis Cessa.
Drury, who lost his starting job at third when he went on the disabled list in early April and rookie Miguel Andujar put a hammerlock on the position, had been recalled June 29. He went 3-for-22 in his second stint and is 8-for-45 overall.
The Yankees thought it was necessary to keep outfielder Clint Frazier and infielder Tyler Wade on the roster. “We just feel like Frazier covers us in the outfield and Wade gives us some flexibility, especially when we get back to a three-man bench when we bring [Masahiro] Tanaka back off [the DL] tomorrow,” Boone said. “And Wade’s a backup shortstop, too, so it gives us some protection with Didi [Gregorius].”
Boone said he’s sure Drury was “devastated” to have to return to the minors. Earlier in the season, Drury said he doesn’t belong there.
“It’s terrible news to have to give a guy that’s a big-leaguer,” Boone said. “He doesn’t belong there, but it’s unfortunately the situation right now. All we can do is encourage him to make the absolute best out of the situation. He’s done a good job of that all year.”
Tanaka returns to the rotation Tuesday night after missing just over a month with strains in both hamstrings, an injury that occurred when he ran the bases at Citi Field June 9.
Tanaka is 7-2 but has a 4.58 ERA, in large part because he’s allowed a team-high 16 homers, a problem that also afflicted him last year, when he allowed a career-high 35.
“I feel like I was helped out a lot more by the offense,” he said through his translator. “Going into the later part of the season, I’d like for that to be the other way around. In those close games, you want to be the one that’s actually performing out there and helping out the team.”
The Astros, Mets, Red Sox, Phillies, Braves, Nationals and Yankees were among the teams with scouts at Monday’s games. The Yankees are looking for a starting pitcher but have an interest in Orioles lefthanded closer Zach Britton, who picked up the save in Game 1 on Monday, pitching out of a man-on-third, one-out jam.