NEW YORK -- Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius has been activated from the disabled list after recovering from a bruised right shoulder, an injury sustained while playing for the Netherlands in last month's World Baseball Classic.
He hit .444 (8 for 18) during a five-game injury rehabilitation assigned with Class A Tampa of the Florida State League.
To clear a roster spot, infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment Friday. He was 1 for 9 in 11 games with the Yankees.
BOSTON -- It was amazingly before 10 p.m. in the winning New York Yankees clubhouse at Fenway Park. After a 2-hour and 21-minute game on Thursday in which the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka out-aced the Boston Red Sox’s Chris Sale, Tanaka was in the middle of the road clubhouse, which, as usual, had too many people and too little space. Tanaka spoke about his masterpiece.
Just in front of Tanaka, several Yankees centered around a large-screen TV as Mel Kiper Jr. talked about the upcoming Eagles pick in the NFL draft in Philadelphia. Matt Holliday, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Greg Bird and Chris Carter were studying the draft picks as they enjoyed a victory meal and discussed the merits of asparagus. Holliday asked Judge to lower the music on the stereo system, because Holliday wanted to see how Eagles fans would react to their team’s selection.
A few feet away, Tanaka sounded a little like a draft expert as he mentioned how Sale was the definite top pick entering the matchup. Tanaka spoke somewhat self-effacingly about how Sale was the favorite. The Yankees’ No. 1 did have some points, considering Tanaka entered with a 6.00 ERA, while Sale’s was 0.91. If you would have had to choose a pitcher, Sale would have been the safer pick.
“A lot of people thought that how well he’s been pitching up to this point, he probably would have the upper hand. I wanted to try and go in there and beat the odds,” Tanaka said through an interpreter.
On Thursday night, there was no doubt who was the top choice, as Tanaka matched Sale zero for zero for the first three innings. The Yankees got Tanaka a run in the fourth, and the right-hander kept mowing down the Red Sox. A couple of insurance runs in the ninth made the 3-0 score line a little less impressive, but it didn’t change the fact that Tanaka and the Yankees were once again superior to the Red Sox.
In their praise, Tanaka’s Yankee teammates, coaches and manager sounded as though they could have been sitting next to Trey Wingo in Philly.
- “That’s what a No. 1 does,” third baseman Chase Headley said.
- “He went toe-to-toe with Chris Sale,” manager Joe Girardi said.
- Pitching coach Larry Rothschild: "Through nine innings, this is the best [Masahiro Tanaka] I've ever seen."
- “I don’t remember him being any better,” Headly added.
The Yankees left Boston winners of the two games in the rain-shortened series. They are 13-7, while the team that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman dubbed “the Golden State Warriors of baseball” is 11-10. If the Yankees' superiority over the Red Sox is going to be a seasonlong story, it will need to be, in part, because Tanaka is an ace over the six months of the regular season.
On Thursday, Tanaka allowed three hits and struck out just three, becoming the first Yankees starter to have that combo against the Red Sox since Jim Bouton in 1963.
Tanaka did it by grounding the Red Sox, as only 35 percent of their 26 balls in play were in the air. The Red Sox could not hit Tanaka's splitter, going 0-for-11 on the pitch. And that splitter is rounding into shape: After the Rays went 5-for-7 on Opening Day against it, opponents are 1-for-25 ever since.
He was not afraid to throw the cutter, either. Of Tanaka's 97 pitches, 21 percent were cutters, the second-highest output of his MLB career.
Tanaka and the Yankees knew what they were up against in Sale, who was the consensus top pick coming into Thursday night at Fenway. At the end of the night, Tanaka was the No. 1 left standing.
BOSTON -- Masahiro Tanaka pitched a three-hitter to outduel Chris Sale and earn his first shutout since 2014, and the New York Yankees beat Boston 3-0 on Thursday night for their fifth straight victory over the rival Red Sox.
Tanaka (3-1) struck out three and threw only 97 pitches for his fifth career complete game and his 10th win in 11 decisions dating to last season. Aaron Hicks had two hits and scored twice, and Matt Holliday had two hits and two RBI.
Tanaka retired the last 14 batters he faced and only allowed one runner to reach second base.
Sale (1-2) allowed three runs -- two earned -- and eight hits in eight innings, striking out 10 and walking none. He joined Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens and Jon Lester as Red Sox pitchers with 10 or more strikeouts in four straight starts.
Gregorius will have missed the first 20 games of the Yankees' season due to a shoulder strain he suffered during the World Baseball Classic.
The Yankees have not lost that much with Gregorius out, because his replacement, 5-foot-7 Ronald Torreyes, entered Thursday hitting .290 and was tied for second on the team in RBIs (13).
"We have been kind of fortunate that Torreyes has played so well," Girardi said.
Gregorius, 27, hit .276 with 20 homers and 70 RBIs in 153 games last season. He had a .751 OPS.
"Didi is a great player," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "If we are getting the same guy we have seen for the last year-and-a-half, it is going to make us better and more comfortable every day and give Joe obviously a deeper lineup.
"Torreyes has done a great job, but, at the end of the day, we look forward to getting Didi back."
If Gregorius were healthy, Jacoby Ellsbury would have likely started the year at seventh or ninth in the order. But Ellsbury was hitting .314 entering Thursday, earning the right to be at the top of the order. Girardi thinks he will bat Gregorius in a power spot, but wouldn't reveal where.
"You would think he is going to hit somewhere in that middle area," Girardi said. "I'm going to have to figure out how to separate the lefties."
Batting in the leadoff spot, he went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
Pedroia had missed Boston's past three games because of a sore left knee and ankle. He suffered the injuries when he was spiked in the left leg by the Orioles' Manny Machado last Friday.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said Pedroia would have played Tuesday against the Yankees if that game had not been rained out. However, Farrell said Pedroia woke up Wednesday with "lingering symptoms" of soreness, and the wet conditions also played a factor in keeping him out of the lineup.
"After missing for a few days, it's good to have him back leading off," Farrell said. "I think what he's done for us is set the tone at the top of the order with tough at-bats, using the whole field and just a great competitor, great defender. So the fact he's back with us, while there's still some residual soreness in there, he's cleared and ready to play."
Pedroia had been listed as day-to-day since he was seen by team doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital on Monday.
Despite Pedroia's return, the Red Sox claimed infielder Chase d'Arnaud off waivers from the Atlanta Braves. He's expected to join the team Friday and take over the backup utility role. Fellow utility infielders Josh Rutledge and Marco Hernandez have been pressed into more regular duty as fill-ins at third base for injured Pablo Sandoval.
NEW YORK -- Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says two groups are still bidding to buy the Miami Marlins from Jeffrey Loria.
New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are involved in one of the groups. Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the Jeter/Bush group won an auction for the team with a $1.3 billion bid. Manfred said some reports on the sale have been premature.
"There are multiple bidders for the Marlins," Manfred said Thursday at the groundbreaking for the Jackie Robinson Museum. "There is no agreement in place. We're working with more than one group, and when we have a definitive agreement we'll make an announcement."
Asked about the timeline, Manfred responded: "The timeline is relatively short; it would be measured in days, not months." He also said "there is not a signed document on any topic."
"We still have two groups involved in the process," he added. "Timing is one of the things that both the buyer and the seller are working through, so it's just impossible to say at this point, and I don't want to get into really what the issues are. The only reason I commented on this at all is there had been so much out there that really (is) not quite accurate."
As Manfred was speaking, ESPN announced it was cutting back its "Baseball Tonight" studio program from all game nights to Sundays and special events. The MLB Network's "Intentional Talk" will be broadcast on ESPN2 on weekdays from 4-5 p.m. during the season and for 30 minutes during the offseason.
"We feel that we'll continue to get outstanding coverage of baseball on ESPN," Manfred said.
BOSTON -- It was Chris Sale's turn to pitch, and not in a minor league scrimmage on some remote practice field, either. He took a two-and-a-half-hour bus ride to Tampa for a 7 p.m. game, pitched six strong innings, got back on the bus and arrived home shortly after midnight. No big whoop.
Besides, it gave him a taste -- a spring training sip, if you will -- of this whole Red Sox-Yankees thing.
If pitching in the postseason was the biggest thing Sale didn’t have a chance to do in seven seasons with the Chicago White Sox, taking part in an age-old rivalry might be No. 2. The White Sox have long fought for divisional supremacy with the likes of the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals, but none qualifies as an intensely hated foe. Although the annual crosstown series with the Chicago Cubs once featured fisticuffs between catchers A.J. Pierzynski and Michael Barrett, it has always felt like a forced interleague creation.
But Red Sox-Yankees is the real thing -- not just in baseball but across sports. Sure, it has lacked some sizzle the past few years, largely because the teams haven’t been serious playoff contenders at the same time. But it remains a capital-R Rivalry that dates back to Babe Ruth and includes some of the game’s biggest names, from Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and Carlton Fisk through Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson, David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
With the 2017 installment underway this week at Fenway Park, Sale is about to become the newest star to enter the ring when he takes the Fenway mound for the Red Sox on Thursday night.
Sale has kept a low profile since the season began, mostly limiting his availability to the media to after he pitches. But the ace lefty’s desire to face the Yankees on March 21, rather than going the minor league route, and his comments afterward indicate that he is aware that these games are relevant beyond the teams’ respective places in the standings.
“Obviously, anybody who knows anything about sports knows about Boston and New York,” Sale said. “Even from the outside looking in, you can see it. You can sense the competitive drive on these teams and in this series.”
Sale, 28, is off to a historically good start for the Red Sox. In four starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tigers, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, he has allowed three runs on 15 hits and six walks in 29 2/3 innings while racking up a league-leading 42 strikeouts. His dominance has even been compared to Martinez’s first season with the Red Sox, and indeed, it is “pretty darn close,” as Hall of Fame reliever Dennis Eckersley said. Through four starts, Pedro allowed three runs on 16 hits and seven walks in 32 innings while striking out 44.
In another time, Sale's lights-out start would've been enough to make George Steinbrenner fume. Nothing got under The Boss' skin quite like Boston making a move for a star such as Sale, especially if the Yankees took a pass. Heads, or at least the one on general manager Brian Cashman's shoulders, would have rolled.
“It’s impressive, man,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said of Sale. “He’s just attacking the zone and overpowering guys with all of his pitches. You go up there and gear up to try to hit, and you can’t. That’s when you know his stuff is overpowering. That’s pretty impressive.”
Said closer Craig Kimbrel: “He’s been great. You couldn’t ask him to do any more.”
In another time, Sale’s lights-out start would've been enough to make George Steinbrenner fume. Nothing got under The Boss’ skin quite like Boston making a move for a star such as Sale, especially if the Yankees took a pass. Heads, or at least the one on general manager Brian Cashman’s shoulders, would have rolled.
After Sale was acquired in December for a package of minor leaguers, including 21-year-old top prospect Yoan Moncada and Double-A flamethrower Michael Kopech, Cashman responded by calling the Red Sox “the Golden State Warriors now in baseball." It was a statement that came off as part gamesmanship, part genuine admiration. Cashman referred to Boston's star-studded starting rotation of Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello by saying, “They’ve got their [Kevin] Durant, their [Draymond] Green, their [Klay] Thompson and [Stephen] Curry.”
But Cashman also explained that the Yankees weren't in position to make a comparable offer for Sale, even though their farm system is loaded with elite prospects. While the Red Sox have a core of young stars (Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi are all under 25 years old), the Yankees are a step behind, with Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Greg Bird getting established at the big league level and Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield still on the way.
“We have a game plan that we’re going to continue to stay diligent and determined with, and I think it will serve us well over time,” Cashman said. “I think where Boston certainly is sitting currently and where we’re currently sitting, we’re on different time frames.”
Yet the Yankees entered this week’s series with an 11-7 record, a half-game better than that of the Red Sox (11-8), who shudder to think of where they would be without Sale. Price is slowly rehabbing a spring-training elbow injury that likely will keep him out until June. The rest of the rotation -- Porcello, knuckleballer Steven Wright and lefties Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz -- has ranged from inconsistent to rotten.
Sale brought to Boston a reputation as a Yankee-killer. In 10 games (seven starts) against the team in his career, he’s 4-1 with a 1.17 ERA, the lowest of any pitcher who has thrown at least 50 innings against New York in the past 100 years.
“Can you knock on some wood for me?” Sale said in spring training. “I don’t know why I have had so much success against them. That’s a good question. They definitely run out some great ball teams. Sometimes you get lucky, I guess.”
Consider it unlucky, then, that the Yankees will catch Sale in this series. But with 19 games against the Red Sox, the Yankees are bound to see him frequently.
You can bet Sale will be ready. And there won't be five hours of bus rides this time.
In 2004, Derek Jeter risked his limbs and raced headfirst into the third row, picking up an out while bloodying his face against the Red Sox.
A decade ago, another rookie, reliever Joba Chamberlain, took over the summer and lifted the Yankees to a playoff appearance.
Last year, rookie Gary Sanchez seemed to hit a homer per day.
Now, Judge is mixing all this into one amazing brew.
On Wednesday night at Fenway Park, the 6-foot-7, 282-pound Judge celebrated his 25th birthday with his first game in the Yankees-Red Sox series. The right fielder punctuated a 3-1 win with his seventh homer and a Jeter-esque catch, and another night that ended with: Did you see what Aaron Judge did?
"It is impressive what he has done," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
It is still a little too early to say Judge is about to take over this Yankees season -- as Joba did out of the ’07 bullpen, striking out everyone in sight -- but less than a month in, there are indications nearly every night that Judge might do so.
On Wednesday, the first pitch Judge saw in the game's greatest rivalry was an 89 mph two-seam fastball out of the hand of 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello. It tailed over the plate, allowing the right-handed-hitting Judge to meet the ball with the barrel of his bat. When that happens, the baseball flies a long way, and this shot voyaged the opposite way over the short wall in right for a two-run homer.
The only other Yankees to homer on their birthdays at Fenway: Yogi Berra and Roger Maris, according to Elias. That is the kind of company the 25-year-old Judge is keeping these days.
In the third inning, Judge sprinted from his position in right toward the foul line. In a 2004 game against the Red Sox, Jeter gave up his body, making a catch at the old Yankee Stadium and then heading full speed into the third row of the stands in shallow left field. The shortstop scraped himself off the seats and carried on, bloodied and more of a legend.
On Wednesday night, Xander Bogaerts fouled off a ball that veered into the stands in right. Judge went after the ball with reckless abandon.
"I saw a ball I could get to and I was trying to do anything I could do to try and catch it," Judge said.
Judge made the play as he flipped into the first row of seats. Judge came up with the ball and, fortunately for the fans nearby, he didn't land on anyone.
"That's a big boy getting piled on the nachos and peanuts," left fielder Brett Gardner said.
Judge might end his career more like Joba than Jeter, but the rookie has already answered questions about his potential and his personality that make it seem the latter is possible.
In quick fashion, Judge has displayed the sort of athlete he is and shown he is not too big to succeed at baseball's highest level. He is fast and nimble, like an NFL tight end. He is not just a lumbering guy who can mash homers. Plus, his commitment to winning is, dare we say it, Jeter-esque.
His answers to questions are deferential, sort of bland, similar to the old captain's. The tao of Jeter was to always put winning above anything else. That might sound cliché in a way, but he left an ethos that has lived on with these up-and-coming young players. Judge has learned all these Yankees lessons.
After the win, Judge smiled about the whole event, pretty much reacting in the same, not-all-that-impressed way that has succeeded each of his feats.
His manager was worried that Judge hurt himself on the catch, though Judge did not seem concerned. It was almost as if it was just another birthday for him.
It wasn't really, but it was just another day that ended with: Did you see what Aaron Judge did?
BOSTON -- Luis Severino pitched seven innings of three-hit, shutout ball and Aaron Judge celebrated his 25th birthday with a two-run homer and spectacular catch, carrying the surging New York Yankees to a 3-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night in the longtime rivals' first meeting this season.
It was the 11th win in 14 games for the Yankees after they opened the season 1-4.
Severino (2-1) struck out six and walked two, posting his third straight strong start. In his previous two, the 23-year-old righty became just the third Yankee ever to post double-digit strikeouts without more than one walk in consecutive games.
Reigning AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello (1-3) lost his third straight start, giving up three runs -- two earned -- in 6 2/3 innings. He didn't lose consecutive starts last season.