Tyler Austin suspension coming at worst time for Yankees
The Yankees expect to lose first baseman Tyler Austin to a suspension this week for his involvement in a brawl with the Red Sox on April 11. Austin, who charged the mound after being hit by a pitch from Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly, was handed a five-game suspension and had an appeal hearing Thursday.
MLB could possibly announce a decision as early as Monday.
“We do anticipate a decision this week, when that is I don’t know. Hopefully it gets knocked down a little bit,’’ manager Aaron Boone said following Sunday’s 5-1 win over the Blue Jays. “It’s never a good time to be playing short and not necessarily looking forward to that. We know it’s coming and will do the best we can.’’
Austin has 11 hits in his last 28 at-bats (.478) after going 1-for-3 with a walk Sunday. Losing his bat will hurt a lineup that the ice-cold Neil Walker will likely join at first base when Austin serves his sentence. Walker has started 10 games at first and four at second this season.
Since Gleyber Torres was promoted from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday to play second, Walker was asked about the move that could reduce his playing time at second base.
“He has earned the right to come up here. I’m not even hitting my weight. I know I’m gonna pick it up, but we got to win games,’’ said the switch-hitter, who is batting .183 (11-for-60) with just two extra-base hits (doubles). “My timing hasn’t been great. I’ve been searching a little bit, in between at the plate. Once I get my swing off better, I’ll be off to the races. It just hasn’t happened yet. I haven’t thought about it. Doing all I can to right my situation. I’m here to help any way I can. These guys the earned right to play.’’
Austin signaled to the Yankees dugout to take a look at a play at first base in the eighth inning on a ground ball to short on which he was called out. The Yankees challenged the call and when the play was shown on the center-field replay board, the crowd booed the call made by first-base umpire and crew chief Ted Barrett. Subsequent replays drew the same reaction.
However, following a review, the word from MLB was that first baseman Justin Smoak had a sliver of his spike on the bag with the ball in his glove.
“There was a shot a split second earlier where it was kind of borderline whether they were going to overturn it,’’ Boone said. “It was one of those if he is called safe he is probably safe. If he is called out, I haven’t looked at all the replays yet, but that is my understanding of it.’’
By using Gary Sanchez as the DH, Boone had eight right-handed hitters in the lineup against Blue Jays lefty Jaime Garcia on Sunday.
Boone’s original plan was for Sanchez to catch Friday night and Saturday day and DH Sanchez on Sunday. However, Friday night’s game lasted three hours and 22 minutes, so Boone used Austin Romine on Saturday and paired him with Luis Severino on Sunday.
Sanchez started the game in a 2-for-13 slide and went 1-for-3 with a double. Romine delivered a two-run double in the second when the Yankees extended their lead to 3-0.
There is a chance Clint Frazier could play in Single-A games for Tampa this coming week.
“I think he has finally passed all of the concussion protocols and MLB has to sign off on it,’’ Boone said of the outfielder who suffered a concussion banging his head against a fence on Feb. 24 in a spring training game. “There is a chance he could be playing in games with Tampa [Monday] or Tuesday.
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