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Bringing up Deivi Garcia may have been the acquisition Yankees needed

Yankees starting pitcher Deivi Garcia delivers against the

Yankees starting pitcher Deivi Garcia delivers against the Mets during the first inning of Game Two in an MLB baseball doubleheader at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Yankees may not have made a deal at Monday's trading deadline, but they also may have glimpsed their big unexpected addition on Sunday.

Top prospect Deivi Garcia started and threw six spectacular innings against the Mets in a no-decision in Game 2 of the doubleheader. He is likely to get another start before the end of the week. Manager Aaron Boone said Monday that when the Yankees play a doubleheader in Baltimore on Friday, there’s “a good chance he’ll be one of the pitchers in that game.”

Getting a major contribution from a touted prospect in a stretch run is nothing new for the Yankees.

Go back 56 years, and Mel Stottlemyre went 9-3 with a 2.06 ERA after an August call-up, playing a major role as the Yankees went to the World Series.

The Yankees got big regular-season lifts from Joba Chamberlain in 2007 and Luis Severino in 2015. The Rays brought up David Price in 2008 to pitch in relief, and he helped them win the pennant.

So could Garcia be following a similar path for the 2020 Yankees?

“It’s very possible, yes,” Boone said. “A lot of times, you know, especially in championship runs, sometimes you get contributions from unexpected places sometimes or sometimes from somebody coming up for the first time in their big league career and having an impact. Our game is littered with stories of people coming up and impacting September runs and things like that. [I’m] certainly excited the way Deivi pitched his first time out and what he could potentially mean for us moving forward.”

The 5-9 Garcia, 21,  threw 75 pitches  and allowed one unearned run, four hits and no walks. He struck out six, including five Mets in his first time through their batting order.

“A great growth spurt has occurred,” general manager Brian Cashman said of Sunday’s outing. “That’s asking a lot at his age and stage of development. . . . We’re pretty proud of the step he took.”

How many starts Garcia gets to make will depend on how well he performs and how long James Paxton remains sidelined. Paxton has been out with a left forearm flexor strain since Aug. 21, leaving a slot in the starting rotation.

“Deivi coming up for the first time and getting his first opportunity and pitching as well as he did was really encouraging, and he has thrown himself more in the mix,” Boone said. He called that performance and the eventual return of some top injured players “things on the horizon that we feel like bode well for us.”

Britton close to return

Setup man Zack Britton is on the cusp of returning from the 10-day injured list.

“It looks like he is, he's ready to come off it,” Boone said. “It won't be [Monday]. He threw a bullpen [Sunday].

Britton began the season as the team’s closer because Aroldis Chapman was out after testing positive for COVID-19 early in summer camp. Britton went 8-for-8 in save opportunities. In his first appearance after returning to the setup role — against the Rays on Aug. 19 — he got hurt while giving up a pair of eighth-inning runs.

“He’s coming around the corner,” Cashman said.

Torres could be back this week

Gleyber Torres, who suffered left hamstring and left quadriceps strains Aug. 20 while running to first base, also could return from the 10-day IL before the end of the week. He ran on the field before Monday night’s game against Tampa Bay at the Stadium.

“He is getting close,” Boone said. “I've been excited about where he was, really, in the first couple of days outside the injury. It seemed like he was doing really well. Just watching his progression over the last several days — watching how he's moving around — I almost feel like he's moving around better than even before the injury. . . .  I don't think it's too far off now.''

Extra bases

When Gerrit Cole allowed a two-run homer by Ji-Man Choi in the first inning and a solo shot by Kevin Kiermaier in the second inning on Monday night, it brought his total to 12 home runs allowed in 43 innings this season. He had allowed 19 runs at that point, with 16 of them coming on home runs . . . Aaron Hicks was not in the starting lineup for Monday night’s game but was available to come off the bench. Hicks was removed from the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader sweep of the Mets after he felt cramping in both calves while fouling a pitch off. Boone said he was due to get a day off and that he’d played a lot in the five games against the Mets the previous three days. . . . Catcher Kyle Higashioka, out with an oblique strain, could return to the Yankees on Tuesday, Boone said.

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