First it was on. Then it was off. Now it’s back on again.
Major League Baseball on Saturday made it official that the Yankees will play four games this coming week against the Phillies: a pair at the Stadium on Monday and Tuesday before moving to Citizen’s Bank Park.
The coronavirus outbreak that left half of the Marlins' active roster testing positive while in Philadelphia also sidelined the Phillies after two members of their staff tested positive. The Yankees had been scheduled to play the Phillies in Philadelphia last Monday and Tuesday and in the Bronx on Wednesday and Thursday, but they ended up playing in Baltimore the latter two days as the Yankees' and Orioles' opponents were held out of playing.
The Phillies had a workout at home Saturday. The Monday game will be their first action since July 26.
“If anything, you know, the season has taught us — and the virus has taught us — that this is always a day-by-day, week-by-week kind of situation that we exist in,” manager Aaron Boone said.
In response to the Marlins' outbreak — which may be linked to unsafe socializing on the road — MLB decided that each club should have a compliance officer to make sure players are following protocols because every team is depending on the other 29.
Mark Kafals, one of the club’s long-time security officials, will serve in that role, according to Boone. However, the Yankees — who see this as a potentially special season — apparently have been quite vigilant.
“As a team, for us, we've been doing a really good job of following the protocols and everyone's wearing a mask and doing what they're supposed to do, and we've been fairly successful so far,” said James Paxton, a member of the Players Association's eight-player executive subcommittee. “Obviously, I don't know what's happening on other teams, but I just think that we're all just trying to hold each other accountable and really stress how important it is to follow the protocols.”
Paxton makes an adjustment
Paxton looked at video from his first start of the season — in which he gave up three runs, five hits and a walk in one inning-plus in a loss to Washington — and found some significant flaws that he will try to correct when he starts Sunday night’s series finale against the Red Sox at the Stadium.
“We looked at some video and it turned out that my arm angle is low,” he said. “I was kind of bending over too far on my way to the plate. So we've been working on my posture, standing up a little bit straighter and getting my arm angle up a little bit . . . [to] throw that breaking ball so it really breaks on that downward plane.”
If it ain't broke . . .
Giancarlo Stanton is healthy enough to start playing the outfield, but don’t look for him there anytime soon. He's been the designated hitter, and when it comes to Stanton — who was batting .421 with two homers and six RBIs entering Saturday night — there was no reason to mess with something good.
“In this role he's doing so well, not only from a performance standpoint — which obviously has been great — but I feel like physically he's in a great spot,” Boone said. “I feel like physically he's ready to go play the outfield but, with the roster we have right now, it kind of makes the most sense to go this route at least for the foreseeable future.”
Yankees DFA Iannetta
With Masahiro Tanaka being activated from the injured list, the Yankees designated catcher Chris Iannetta for assignment.