Yan­kees eye Gray, ac­quire Gar­cia

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - RON­ALD BLUM NEW YORK —

While dis­cussing a pos­si­ble trade to ac­quire Sonny Gray from Oak­land, the New York Yan­kees made a more mod­est move Sun­day and ob­tained Jaime Gar­cia from the Min­ne­sota Twins for mi­nor-league pitch­ers Zack Lit­tell and Di­et­rich Enns.

A 31-year-old left-han­der, Gar­cia went 4-7 with a 4.30 ERA in 18 starts for At­lanta, was dealt to Min­ne­sota last Mon­day and won his only start for the Twins, giv­ing up three runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 in­nings at Oak­land in Amer­i­can League base­ball ac­tion Fri­day.

“Un­less we bring him back, he’ll go down as one of the few un­de­feated pitch­ers in Twins his­tory,” Min­ne­sota man­ager Paul Moli­tor said.

Gar­cia took a red-eye flight Sat­ur­day night from Cal­i­for­nia to At­lanta to get some of his be­long­ings. He is to make his Yan­kees de­but on Thurs­day at Cleve­land.

“It’s what we need. It’s an awe­some add for this team. I’ve heard only good things about him as a club­house guy and I’m ex­cited,” Yan­kees right fielder Aaron Judge said.

Gar­cia takes the No. 5 slot in the ro­ta­tion filled since the all-star break by Caleb Smith and Bryan Mitchell. Michael Pineda’s el­bow in­jury, re­quir­ing Tommy John surgery, caused the Yan­kees to search for more start­ing pitching. Luis Cessa, who has made four starts this year, was the other op­tion.

Gar­cia pitched for the St. Louis Car­di­nals from 2008 to ’16 and was dealt to the Braves last De­cem­ber. He started twice against Texas in the 2011 World Se­ries, pitching seven shutout in­nings in Game 2 and al­low­ing two runs over three in­nings in Game 6. He did not get a de­ci­sion in ei­ther game.

“I think we’re look­ing at the ex­pe­ri­ence fac­tor,” Yan­kees man­ager Joe Gi­rardi said. “It’s some­one that’s pitched in some big games be­fore.”

New York will in ef­fect pay only $184,180 in salary to Gar­cia — a pro­rated share of the $535,000 min­i­mum.

At­lanta agreed to pay the Twins cash to cover most of the re­main­der of his $12-mil­lion salary, and Min­ne­sota in turn will pass the cash on to the Yan­kees. He is el­i­gi­ble for free agency af­ter the World Se­ries.

“Ba­si­cally a three-pitch guy: fast­ball, changeup, slider. And pretty good move­ment on the fast­ball,” Yan­kees pitching coach Larry Roth­schild said.

At the time of last week’s trade, the Twins were 49-48 and trailed Ma­jor League Base­ball’s Amer­i­can League Cen­tral-lead­ing Cleve­land by 2½ games. Min­ne­sota lost four of its next five games, fall­ing seven games back of first and four games out for the sec­ond AL wild card.

“Things have changed in the last 10 days, as far as a cou­ple of teams get­ting hot and we’ve had a lit­tle bit of a tough time clos­ing games out,” Moli­tor said.

He spoke to his play­ers be­fore Sun­day’s game.

“Get over it,” he re­called telling them. “We are where we are. We’re one run away from this thing hav­ing a dif­fer­ent look, just the way the last 10 days kind of went against us. We’re play­ing a lot of the teams we need to pur­sue down the road. It hasn’t changed our fo­cus of what we’re try­ing to do now.”

For now, New York says it has no lim­its on the in­nings of rookie Jor­dan Mont­gomery (113) and thirdyear pitcher Luis Sev­erino (127 2/3). Mont­gomery has never thrown more than 139 1/3 in a sea­son and Sev­erino 161 2/3. Gi­rardi doesn’t en­vi­sion a six-man ro­ta­tion, ex­cept for per­haps an oc­ca­sional turn through the ro­ta­tion to give the starters ex­tra rest.

In the two weeks lead­ing up to Mon­day’s dead­line for trades with­out waivers, New York also has added third base­man Todd Fra­zier and re­liev­ers David Robert­son and Tommy Kahnle.

Jaime Gar­cia

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