MINNEAPOLIS — Zack Britton had a rough line in his rehab appearance with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Tuesday night, but Aaron Boone said the left-hander’s comeback from elbow surgery during training is still going smoothly.
“He felt good [Tuesday],’’ Boone said Wednesday before the Yankees faced the Twins at Target Field. “He feels good [Wednesday].”
Britton is on schedule to pitch in another rehab game with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday. If he feels OK after that outing, the Yankees will decide the next course of action.
Boone watched video of Tuesday’s outing, in which Britton allowed four runs on three hits and a walk, while getting just one batter out, and said it wasn’t as bad as the line looked.
“I thought he looked OK,’’ Boone said. “[The ball] was coming out pretty well. I think he was trying a few different things. In a rehab [game], you might throw pitches you wouldn’t at a particular time. His stuff is good and he’s bouncing back well.”
If that remains the case, it’s conceivable Britton could rejoin the Yankees’ bullpen at some point following Thursday’s appearance.
The Yankees’ bullpen has been excellent even in Britton’s absence, along with other injured list stints from Darren O’Day and Justin Wilson.
Despite Gary Sanchez’s recent turnaround at the plate, Boone said he didn’t consider using him behind the plate with Gerrit Cole pitching on Wednesday.
“Not really,’’ Boone said. “[Kyle] Higashioka will take his turns through the course of the rotation and I felt this was still the right time to do that.”
Higashioka has been Cole’s personal catcher since the latter part of last season.
Giancarlo Stanton’s inability to play the outfield also makes it more difficult to use Sanchez — or anyone else — as the DH. Stanton started at DH Wednesday. The Yankees won’t be able to use Stanton over the weekend in Philadelphia because there won’t be a DH, and they have not been willing to risk having Stanton play defense — especially after his recent IL stint due to a strained left quad.
Sanchez began Wednesday’s game on the bench, having gone 12-for-34 with three doubles, two homers, six RBIs and five walks in his previous 11 games. That’s compared to Stanton, who was 4-for-29, with no extra-base hits, four walks and a dozen strikeouts in nine games since returning from the IL.
While the Yankees have been unable to find success with runners in scoring position this season, Gleyber Torres has been productive. He entered Wednesday hitting .414 (12-for-29) with two doubles, 16 RBIs and five walks since April 28 with RISP. Overall, Torres has been solid since a stint on the COVID IL. After his return on May 19, Torres entered Wednesday hitting .354 (23-for-65) with three doubles, two homers and 13 RBIs.
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