ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Chad Green believes he’s fixed.
He and the Yankees certainly hope so, and the very early indications are that just might be the case.
Green, recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday morning, struck out the side in the ninth inning to finish off the Yankees' 7-1 victory over the Rays.
“You definitely want to see instant results, especially after you struggle like I did,” Green said. “It’s nice to get back out there.”
Said Aaron Boone: “That’s Chad Green right there.”
Green, among the best relievers in the sport in 2017 and 2018, had a miserable start to this season, posting a 16.43 ERA in his first 10 games, which earned him a ticket to Triple-A to work through his issues. He had allowed 14 runs, 15 hits (including four home runs) and four walks in 7 2/3 innings.
Green immediately embraced the demotion as an opportunity to get himself right. “I knew something had to give. I think I knew I needed to work on stuff and this [the majors] is a tough place to do that, especially when you’re trying to make big adjustments,” he said. “So that [being sent down] was the best thing for me at the time, and I’m in a better spot now than I was two weeks ago for sure.”
After striking out 14 in 7 1/3 innings in three Triple-A outings, all starts, Green was recalled and lefthander Nestor Cortes Jr. was optioned back to Scranton.
“Straightening out my mechanics was the big thing,” Green said before Sunday’s game. “Kind of how I break my hands, honestly, that was the big key, and that seemed to fix three or four things that were going on. Just kind of tweaked a few minor things after that.”
Green said he felt similar to his 2017 and ’18 self before he pitched in a game for Scranton.
“It literally took me throwing 15, 20 pitches in the bullpen to really feel the adjustment,” he said. “But it was really nice to go down there and be able to work on things for two or three innings at a time, and being able to repeat it is the big thing.”
Boone said he doesn’t have a specific role in mind for Green but indicated he might use him for multiple innings. That would be similar to how Joe Girardi utilized him in 2017, when he struck out 103 batters in 69 innings and recorded a 1.83 ERA.
Boone also said “it’s possible” the Yankees will use Green as an opener if they decide on that strategy for some games.