60° Good Afternoon
60° Good Afternoon

Yankees' bullpen blows it; Didi Gregorius' return uncertain

Yankees manager Aaron Boone takes the ball from

Yankees manager Aaron Boone takes the ball from relief pitcher A.J. Cole, who allowed three runs during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

For the second time this season, the Yankees face the prospect of playing several games without Didi Gregorius. But now the shortstop’s availability for the Oct. 3 wild-card game is uncertain.

Aaron Boone made the announcement after Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Orioles.

“We were meeting on Didi,” the manager said. “He tore some cartilage on his [right] wrist on the slide home’’ (with the run in Saturday’s win that clinched a wild-card berth). “He had an MRI today and then treated it with a cortisone shot and then he’ll be reevaluated in a few days.’’

Asked about Gregorius’ availability with seven games left in the regular season, Boone said: “Unsure. I think there’s a real possibility we do. There’s also a possibility that we don’t. We’ll know a lot more in a few days and see how the wrist responds to the cortisone shot.’’

When Gregorius was asked about the injury, he said: “I haven’t tried [to do] anything yet, so I’m gonna wait and see how it goes. Just sore, just sore.’’

Is there enough time to return?

“Yeah, I hope so,” he said. “How much pain would it have to be for me not to play? I always play through pain . . . Nobody plays this game 100-percent healthy. So I think there’s some things you always have to fight through if you want to be out there for your team. So I think that’s the important part.’’

Gregorius said he did not realize there was an issue until he woke up Sunday morning. “It was swollen,’’ he said. “I just went straight ahead and told them what’s going on.’’

Gregorius missed 16 games with a bruised heel from Aug. 21-Sept. 7. His latest injury overshadowed a deflating loss as the Yankees (95-60) failed to sweep the Orioles (45-110).

J.A. Happ was shaky but left with a 3-1 lead after throwing 107 pitches in five innings.  “I was hoping to get deeper in the game,’’ said Happ, who allowed five hits and struck out seven. “I was battling out there, trying to keep the lead. I would have liked to give another inning or two. We got some pretty decent results for the time I was in there.’’

The Yankees took a 3-0 lead in the first but got only two hits after that. Michael Wright Jr., who replaced Alex Cobb (blister) after only four pitches, walked three batters before Gleyber Torres drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly. Miguel Andujar and Gary Sanchez added  RBI singles.

Happ gave up a second-inning homer by Tim Beckham. After replacing him in the sixth, A.J. Cole pitched to three batters and allowed a double by Trey Mancini and back-to-back homers by Beckham and Renato Nuñez. Joey Rickard then doubled on Tommy Kahnle’s first pitch and scored on D.J. Stewart’s sacrifice fly for a 5-3 lead.

The Yankees finish the regular season on the road with four games against the Rays and three with the Red Sox. They hold a 1 1⁄2-game lead over the A’s (plus a tiebreaker advantage) for home-field advantage in the wild-card game.

“Two tough opponents, teams that have been hot,’’ Aaron Judge said. “Just gotta keep playing, keep winning series.’’

With Judge and Aroldis Chapman back after long stays on the disabled list, the Yankees finally were whole. Then came the Gregorius injury.

“That’s exactly how it works,’’ Judge said with a rueful smile.

The recurring theme had been which pitcher should get the wild-card start. Now that has been overridden by the desire to play at Yankee Stadium.

“Ideally, we’re looking to get that,’’ Happ said. “So I think the next week’s going to be huge to determine how everything is going to be set up.’’

New York Sports