With the Rays sending lefthander Blake Snell to the mound Thursday night, Aaron Boone felt it was time to rest one of his players who rarely sees the bench.
Shortstop Didi Gregorius, who played in 60 of the Yankees’ first 64 games, sat and was replaced by Ronald Torreyes.
“At some point this homestand I’ve kind of been talking with him and checking in, he’s actually feeling pretty strong, but I wanted to get him a day in this run we’re in now,” Boone said. “And with Snell being as tough as he is against lefties, I just felt like this was a good day.”
Snell entered with an 8-3 record, 2.30 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 82 1⁄3 innings.
Gregorius, after a brutal May in which he hit .151/.186/.215, has shown signs of a resurgence. He homered twice in Tuesday night’s victory over the Nationals and entered Thursday with 15 hits in his last 49 at-bats.
One night only
With Snell pitching, Boone also sat the lefty-hitting Brett Gardner and Greg Bird, meaning a lineup stacked with righties and a lineup that featured rookies Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar hitting back-to-back. Torres, who has spent the vast majority of the time hitting ninth, hit fifth Thursday, followed by Andujar.
“Obviously with Didi being down and Gardy and Birdy being down and going all righties, it just felt like that was the place for them tonight,” Boone said.
Masahiro Tanaka, placed on the disabled list over the weekend with strains in both hamstrings, was sent home Wednesday because of an ear infection. It kept him away from the ballpark Thursday as well, per the orders of trainer Steve Donohue.
“It’s just a little virus that he’s dealing with, we’re hoping it’s not anything too serious,” Boone said. “I think he’s doing what he needs to do to get well. It shouldn’t be too long.”
Tanaka is expected to be back at the ballpark Friday.