Yankees have a different look this time
Since dropping older players, they have climbed into wild-card race
WASHINGTON — The Yankees team the Orioles will face this weekend in the Bronx will have an altered appearance from the one they saw on their previous trip to New York nearly six weeks ago.
“That was a different team,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “They have a whole different look. There may not be a team you’d less like to play right now than the Yankees. They’ve got a nice karma around them.”
The Yankees focused on the future at the nonwaiver trade deadline, dealing All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran and lockdown relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, and calling up a crop of prospects to get their feet wet as the season winds down.
Alex Rodriguez is gone after his abrupt retirement announcement. For veterans such as catcher Brian McCann and Severna Park native Mark Teixeira, who also announced his retirement, roles have changed to give way to a youth movement led by catcher Gary Sanchez, first baseman Tyler Austin and outfielder Aaron Judge.
The Yankees have won nine of their past 14 games and are 13-9 in August, moving into wild-card contention. They head home after winning their third straight road series for the first time this season.
The Orioles entered Thursday night’s game in the lead for the second American League wild-card spot by 21⁄ games over the Detroit Tigers, but the Yankees were within earshot, five games back.
So the Orioles’ weekend series in New York at Yankee Stadium is a critical one. The Orioles lost three of four during their first trip there this season, scoring just six runs in the series.
The Orioles’ final series of the regular season will also take place in the Bronx, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, possibly with more on the line. Bullpen carousel continues: The new-look Orioles bullpen now has its share of optionable pieces, which will allow Showalter to add fresh relievers when needed. And Showalter said Thursday that he plans to continue to replenish his bullpen with length on a day-to-day basis if necessary.
Before Thursday’s game, the team optioned right-hander Parker Bridwell, who allowed four runs over 11⁄ relief innings in Wednesday night’s 10-8 win, to Triple-A Norfolk and replaced him with right-hander Logan Ondrusek from Double-A Bowie.
Showalter will be able to keep moving bullpen pieces back and forth — relievers Mike Wright, Donnie Hart and Ondrusek are all optionable — before he will have the benefit of an expanded roster beginning Thursday.
Showalter said that, like Bridwell’s first stint in the majors, Ondrusek’s stay could be short if he were needed for length Thursday (he threw 32 pitches). “That’s not the easiest atmosphere to pitch in, but there’s always that possibility,” Showalter said. Tillman back to throwing next week: Right-hander Chris Tillman is scheduled to resume throwing Monday or Tuesday with a light session off flat ground, Showalter said.
Tillman received a cortisone injection in his right shoulder Tuesday and went on the disabled list Wednesday with right shoulder bursitis, but is eligible to return Sept. 5, when the Orioles open a three-game series at the Tampa Bay Rays. When the club placed Tillman on the DL, Showalter was optimistic he would be able to return when eligible.
Showalter said the team has mapped out Tillman’s rehabilitation program.
“We’re moving him along,” Showalter said. “We have an idea of when he might start for us again if everything went well, but I’m not going to go out there yet publicly on that. But I will tell you Monday or Tuesday, probably Tuesday, he’s going to play catch on flat ground.” Around the horn: Showalter said he met with his coaches to discuss players and minor league staff to add when rosters expand Thursday. The team will also invite an additional group of players to work out in Sarasota, Fla., after the minor league season ends who will serve as call-up possibilities. … Orioles season-ticket holders received emails Thursday with their postseason invoices and details about postseason purchasing packages.