PHILADELPHIA — American League teams will sometimes opt for a deeper bench when they play by National League rules.
The Yankees went the other direction, at least for Monday night, going with 14 pitchers as they opened a three-game series against the Phillies.
Earlier in the day, the Yankees optioned outfielder Clint Frazier to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and recalled righthander Giovanny Gallegos.
“It was, frankly, a very difficult decision, something we’ve spent the last 24 hours on,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Basically just feeling with a few guys being down tonight in the pen, we just needed the coverage.”
The Yankees’ bullpen threw eight scoreless — and hitless — innings in Sunday’s 7-6 loss in 12 innings to the Rays, with Jonathan Holder (2 1⁄3 innings), Chad Green (two innings) and Adam Warren (1 2⁄3 innings) shouldering most of the load. Boone’s plans for Monday did not include the three and, with rookie Jonathan Loaisiga taking the mound, ultimately the Yankees felt they needed a pitcher such as Gallegos who could give them length if need be.
“The coverage there, obviously, leaves us a little bit think position player-wise,” Boone said. “Having to send Frazier out, who we really like as a pinch-hit option in the National League park, was a difficult decision, but one we feel like we needed to make to cover us for at least today and tomorrow.”
The decision left Boone with a bench comprised of the righty-hitting Kyle Higashioka and the switch-hitting Neil Walker and Aaron Hicks.
CC still possible for series
Boone said that, if the situation dictated it Monday night, righthander Luis Cessa, Wednesday’s scheduled starter, would have been an option for him. That would mean CC Sabathia, slated to start Friday against the Red Sox at the Stadium, instead would start in Cessa’s place.
“We’re hopeful we don’t have to go that route and we can keep CC with the extra day’s [rest] and kick off the Boston series,” Boone said. “But CC’s prepared to go [Wednesday] if we needed him.”
Tanaka in Tampa
Masahiro Tanaka (strains in both hamstrings), who threw the first bullpen of his rehab Sunday and is staying in Tampa this week, did pitcher-fielding-practice drills at the minor-league complex Monday. He’s expected to throw another bullpen Tuesday and, assuming no setbacks, will pitch in a simulated game Friday.