New York Daily News

Brito makes case


If Sunday served as an audition, Jhony Brito cemented his case for the cast. The 25-year-old Dominican righty twirled 5.1 perfect innings against the Blue Jays in his bid to join the Yankees’ early season rotation. The team likely needs an extra staffer with Luis Severino battling a low-grade lat strain; Brito started in place of the injured veteran.

With four-seamers and sinkers that reached 97 mph, changeups, curveballs and sliders, Brito made the most of his unexpected opportunit­y. He struck out the first three Toronto hitters he faced before inducing 10 groundouts. Brito threw just 58 pitches and actually needed to rip a few more in the bullpen afterward – while lowering his spring ERA to 2.08.

“It felt like a big opportunit­y,” the Yankees’ 27th-best prospect said after exiting to an ovation at George M. Steinbrenn­er Field. “It was a great way for them to see if I can keep being the pitcher I’ve been in camp and in my career, somebody that attacks the zone.”

Aaron Boone, meanwhile, took note of how the youngster rose to the occasion.

“It matters,” Boone said of Brito delivering in a game with personal stakes for the pitcher. “He’s got our attention all camp. He’s earned a strong reputation throughout player developmen­t. He was very at ease doing what he was doing today. That was good to see.”

Boone praised Brito’s full arsenal and said he could start the Yankees’ third game of the season.

With Severino, Carlos Rodon and Frankie Montas all hurt, the Yankees were forced to dip deep into their pitching depth. Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt were already slated to replace Rodon and Montas.

“No, no, not at all,” Brito said, when asked if he thought he had any shot of cracking the Yankees’ staff when he arrived at spring training.


Brito said Severino offered him words of encouragem­ent Sunday morning, and Gerrit Cole checked on him to make sure he was comfortabl­e during the game.

Brito added that Cole asked Brito for help with his Spanish in exchange for assisting Brito with his English. It looks like the two will have tutoring time in the near future.


On Saturday, Aaron Boone talked about Severino missing his first start of the season and said the pitcher “probably” had to go on the injured list. But on Sunday morning, Severino said he would feel “blessed” if he misses three or four starts.

Told of this after Sunday’s game, Boone said there was no update to Severino’s timeline. Severino, meanwhile, said the Yankees are being cautious with his recovery.

“You know how the Yankees are,” the right-hander said. “Even if I want to rush it, they’re not gonna let me do it.”


Southpaw Matt Krook will start the season in Triple-A. Righty relievers Jimmy Cordero and Albert Abreu made the Yankees’ Opening Day bullpen. Infielder Wilmer Difo, catchers Rodolfo Duran and Carlos Narvaez, right-handers Tyler Danish and James Norwood, and lefty Nick Ramirez have all been reassigned to minor-league camp since Saturday.

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 ?? AP ?? Jhony Brito comes through with pressure on for Yankees.
AP Jhony Brito comes through with pressure on for Yankees.

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