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DUNEDIN, Fla. — If you look closely, it sure seems like the Yankees are using a platoon in left field, as a change in the Blue Jays’ pitching plans put Clint Frazier back on the bench for Wednesday’s 5-4 loss at TD Ballpark.
After Frazier broke out of an 0-for-17 slump on Tuesday, he wasn’t in the lineup after Toronto scratched right-hander Ross Stripling with a forearm injury and replaced him with T.J. Zeuch.
Though Zeuch is also a righty, he’s much tougher on right-handed batters than Stripling, so Aaron Boone went with Brett Gardner.
The manager said he “wanted another lefty in there.”
But that comes after Frazier sat both games over the weekend at Tampa Bay versus right-handers.
“[Frazier] rakes, and he’s gonna rake,’’ Boone said. “But we have a really good player in [Gardner], too.”
Gardner went 0-for-3 with a walk.
The manager was unwilling to look too much into what could be seen as a platoon.
“Let’s make more judgments on these things when we have a month-or-two body of work,’’ said Boone, who called Wednesday’s game “unique” with the late scratch of Stripling.
He pointed to “really different skill-sets” for Stripling and Zeuch.
“It’s more about that,’’ Boone said. “Bottom line, [Gardner] is gonna play a lot, whether he spots in center [or] starts in left. I like the way he’s playing. They’ll both end up playing a lot. [Frazier] is gonna be a really good player for us this year.”
Gleyber Torres was back in the lineup Wednesday after missing Tuesday’s game with a jammed right ring finger, which he suffered diving back into first base on Monday.
Torres said the finger was improved, though he still felt “a little pain.”
But Torres said he was able to figure out a way to grip the bat without putting much pressure on the finger.
Pitching coach Matt Blake said the Yankees are still deciding on a starting pitcher for Friday’s opener of a three-game series against the Rays in The Bronx, listing Deivi Garcia, Michael King or a bullpen game as possibilities. But Garcia pitched a simulated game at the alternate site on Wednesday, and the Yankees’ bullpen has been taxed due to some early starts. King fired six shutout innings in relief of Domingo German in his lone appearance with the Yankees this season. Jordan Montgomery is scheduled to go Saturday, with Gerrit Cole on Sunday.
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