Notes: Green, others to 'step up' in bullpen

March 11th, 2021

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Yankees have grown familiar with the "next man up" mentality over the past two years, calling upon their depth when injuries strike. They’ll do so again to begin the 2021 season, and righty believes that ’s injury will create opportunities for others to shine in the bullpen.

“I think it could pay off in the long run,” Green said on Thursday. “It’ll give guys opportunities to pitch in some high-leverage situations that maybe we’re not used to pitching on a consistent basis. I think it’s going to be good for us in the short term, but we’re going to be excited to have him back in the second half.”

Britton is scheduled to travel to New York this week, where he will have a bone chip removed from his pitching elbow. The surgery will be performed by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad, with an estimated recovery time of three to four months.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone has mentioned Green, right-hander and left-hander among those who are projected to take on added responsibilities. Boone expects that the assignments in innings six through eight will be fluid and matchup-based.

“Obviously, that’s a tough position to fill,” Green said. “He’s been one of the best relievers in the game the past six, eight years. Guys are going to have to step up, including myself.”

Green is likely to be the Yankees’ closer for the season’s first two games, with Aroldis Chapman set to serve his suspension for throwing near the head of the Rays’ Mike Brosseau in a Sept. 1 game at Yankee Stadium.

Back on the bump

tossed 20 fastballs from a mound on Tuesday at the Yankees’ player development complex, and the rehabbing right-hander “looked great,” according to Boone.

“His first go on the mound went really well,” Boone said. “It was a lot of fun for me to get over there to see that first one, just to see how he’s moving around. There’s a confidence that he’s exuding in his health -- just watching him play catch, the way his body is, the kind of shape he’s in. The free and easy way in which he’s throwing, he was really efficient.”

Severino is coming back from Tommy John surgery performed last February and is eyeing a summer return to the Bombers’ rotation.

“He was really throwing it exactly where he wanted; it was coming out hot,” Boone said. “We almost said, ‘Hey, back off a little bit.’ It was coming out a little too well and he wasn’t working for it. I’m really encouraged about where he is at this point.”

Go to the wall

said that he had no issues playing in Thursday’s game, two days after he crashed into a left-field fence in Lakeland, Fla. -- a play that sparked memories and concerns of a similar incident during Spring Training 2018. Frazier said most of the impact was absorbed by his left shoulder.

“It wasn’t as bad as people think,” Frazier said. “I just went out to try to catch the ball and hit the wall pretty hard, but I’m good. I feel fine. I'm not any more at risk of the wall than anyone else out there, and I feel like I'm pretty resilient.”

Frazier said that he sent a text message to outfield coach Reggie Willits the next day, saying, “I need to get better. I need to continue to work with you out there.” Frazier and Willits were in left field before Wednesday’s game at George M. Steinbrenner Field, with Willits cracking fly balls off a fungo bat.

“I played the majority of my games in right field last year,” Frazier said. “The biggest thing was to make sure that my read is aggressive and I’m coming at the ball 100% rather than coasting at the ball.”

The Good Knight

renewed acquaintances with Didi Gregorius on the field before Thursday’s game. The former Yankees shortstop is beginning his second year playing for manager Joe Girardi and the Phillies.

“He’s always helped me out a lot with mental stuff, just to keep going,” Wade said. “He had some words of encouragement and I asked how his offseason was. He seems to be doing well; just back and ready to roll. He did a really good job of taking the younger guys under his wing while he was here, and he went through a lot in his time here. He knows how things go.”

He said it

“He’s like a second father. I’ll call him my grandpa just to get him a little upset.” -- Wade, on Brett Gardner

Bombers bits

has said that he expects to play some outfield before the Yankees head north, but Boone said there is no set date for that on the schedule.

• Frazier wore a t-shirt Thursday with a large image of a Titanic-era Leonardo DiCaprio: “I remember my mom not letting me watch certain scenes at a young age,” he said.

Up next

Jameson Taillon will make his second start and third appearance of the spring on Friday as the Yankees visit the Tigers in Lakeland for a 1:05 p.m. ET contest. Taillon has struck out five with one walk over three scoreless innings so far this spring, scattering two hits.