BALTIMORE — Chad Green thinks he’ll be able to avoid Tommy John surgery.
But the news the rookie righthander received Saturday afternoon was far from good, and surgery hasn’t officially been ruled out.
An MRI taken Saturday afternoon showed that Green, who left Friday night’s game after 1 2⁄3 innings with discomfort in his right elbow, has a sprained right UCL and strained right flexor tendon.
He will be further evaluated by Yankees team physician Christopher Ahmad on Monday in New York.
“It’s not what you want, but you wait until Dr. Ahmad sees him,” Joe Girardi said. “But whenever you hear that [diagnosis], you’re concerned.”
Green, 25, acknowledged that he is unlikely to pitch the rest of this season but hopes the offseason brings just rest and rehab and no surgery.
“From what I know now, it’s not worst-case,” Green said. “It’s something I’ll find out when I see the doc.”
He said the news beat the alternative of an absolute declaration that surgery will be needed. “Maybe just some rest will do it good and we’ll see what happens,” Green said.
As for who will take Green’s rotation spot, Girardi said “we’re just going to play it by ear depending on what we need the next couple of days.”
The two candidates are Luis Severino, a starter whom the Yankees are using out of the bullpen, and Bryan Mitchell, who early last month returned from a broken left big toe, an injury he suffered at the end of spring training. Mitchell, 25, who started Friday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and allowed one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings, had won a bullpen spot with a brilliant spring training.
“We’ve envisioned him as a starter, but the way our team was constructed [in spring training], that [the bullpen] was where he fit the team the best,” Girardi said. “We look at him as a starter or a reliever.”
Too early to Judge
Things have not gone well for rookie rightfielder Aaron Judge since he went 5-for-12 with two homers in his first three games. Going into Saturday night, Judge had a .109/.176/.196 slash line in his previous 14 games, striking out 26 times in 46 at-bats. He went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts in the Yankees’ 2-0 loss to the Orioles on Saturday night.
Now Judge has struck out 21 times in his last 32 at-bats. “It’s baseball, it’s part of the game,’’ he said. “Trying to have quality at-bats, but they’re making good pitches.”
“I think he’s going to go through that some, being a young player and seeing pitchers for the first time,” Girardi said. “You hope everyone starts off like Gary Sanchez, but I don’t think you make an evaluation on 50 or 60 at-bats. He’s struck out a lot lately, but you know he’s got to fight through it.”
Mark Teixeira, a Baltimore-area native who will retire after the season, will play his final regular-season game at Camden Yards on Sunday. Since signing an eight-year, $180-million free-agent deal with the Yankees before the 2009 season, Teixeira has received Alex Rodriguez-level booing from Orioles fans who thought he should have signed with Baltimore.
“The Orioles were up front with me when I was a free agent. They didn’t have any intention of signing me,” Teixeira said. “Andy MacPhail [then the Orioles’ president of baseball operations] was great. He was very up front. He said, ‘Listen, we’re not in a position to match the years or the dollars.’ ”
Teixeira has said much of that before, but before Saturday night’s game, he relayed a less-often-told story, recalling the reaction after Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS, aka the Jeffrey Maier Game. Teixeira was in high school then.
“Anyone around in ’96 knows the Yankees aren’t very well loved around here,” Teixeira said. “There was a Jeffrey Maier announcement in our high school that we had to pray for him. I went to an all-boys Catholic school and you weren’t allowed to say bad things about him. You just had to pray for him.”