NEW YORK -- Giancarlo Stanton's slow start to his Yankees tenure prompted the smallest of lineup demotions, and the slugger's drop to the cleanup spot offered an encouraging sign in Thursday's 4-3 win over the Blue Jays.Stanton flied out in the first inning and grounded out in the third before
NEW YORK -- Giancarlo Stanton's slow start to his Yankees tenure prompted the smallest of lineup demotions, and the slugger's drop to the cleanup spot offered an encouraging sign in Thursday's 4-3 win over the Blue Jays.
Stanton flied out in the first inning and grounded out in the third before snapping an 0-for-15 slide by connecting on a two-out infield single in the fifth, beating the throw to first on a close play. He also worked a walk in the seventh inning.
Manager Aaron Boone was pleased to see Stanton working deep counts.
"I thought he was on pitches a lot more, laying off pitches out of the zone," Boone said. "It was probably 3-2 most of his at-bats, it felt like. He just missed clipping one that first [at-bat] where he got under that breaking ball. I thought it was a good, positive step for him in being able to leg out a hit and then work that walk at the end. I thought he controlled his at-bats tonight, controlled the zone. Hopefully, it's a positive step for him."
Stanton had batted third in his first 16 games as a member of the Yankees, but Boone pointed out that Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez, Thursday's starter, has been historically tougher on right-handed bats. Didi Gregorius was elevated to the No. 3 spot for Thursday's game; Boone does not anticipate a day when Stanton might hit substantially lower in the order.
"No, I think he's too close to hopefully finding that feeling to where he can lock in," Boone said prior to the game. "I have no intentions of moving him down any further. Whether it's fifth or third or fourth, those are always flexible depending on what we have, but I don't plan on moving him to the bottom half of the lineup."
Boone added that he gave little consideration to elevating Stanton in the order, perhaps flipping him with Aaron Judge, who has hit well out of the No. 2 spot.
"No. I kind of love Aaron in that spot, with his ability to get on base," Boone said. "Look, he's Giancarlo Stanton, so I don't think they're going to groove him pitches because he's hitting second or he's hitting fourth or he's hitting third. Guys kind of get pitched to how they get pitched. I think in the long haul, he's going to benefit more from having traffic on the bases and pitchers being in trouble, then when he's right there's no one better at taking advantage of mistakes. So with Aaron and how much he gets on base, I kind of like him in that two-hole."
'We have your back!'
Members of the Yankees united in support of 10-year-old Cassidy Warner this week after the Pennsylvania fourth grader made a public plea against bullying on her personal Facebook page.
The Yankees responded with a video that featured 24 players, plus Boone, holding up a series of note cards to mimic the style of Warner's video. The Yanks message was posted to the team's social media accounts on Wednesday.
The original video was spotted by Jason Zillo, the Yankees' director of media relations, during the team's rainouts in Detroit this past weekend. The team has invited Cassidy and her parents to a game at Yankee Stadium.
"All our guys were really excited to be a part of it, to stand up for something like that," Boone said. "I think it was an easy call for us as an organization and for our players. Hopefully, we can make a difference, not only in this situation but across the country that [bullying is] not OK."
All you need is glove
The Yankees are tied with the Rangers for an American League-worst 17 errors through their first 16 games, and the team has scheduled a full workout of defensive drills prior to Friday's game against the Blue Jays. Pitchers' fielding practice, relays and shifts will be among the items addressed, and Boone said that similar days will occur periodically throughout the season.
"It's something that we need to improve overall," Boone said. "If we're going to be an elite-level team, we've got to catch the ball a little better, and we'll continue to work at that. [Friday] we have a defensive day kind of planned where we'll do a lot more than just the basic stuff, which has been in the plans for the last week. It's something that needs to improve, and I'm confident will continue to improve."
The Yankees have announced the creation of the Yankees Honor Row, a monthly initiative that throughout the season will honor community-based organizations committed to making a positive difference by hosting them in the Judge's Chambers section at Yankee Stadium.
The first beneficiaries of the initiative will be a group of Bronx public school students (grades 5-8) and teachers at the 1:05 p.m. ET game on April 26 vs. the Twins as part of the Yankees' Bronx Education All Star Day. The group will also receive official Judge's Chambers robes and foam gavels.
Greg Bird (right ankle surgery) ran on the field at Yankee Stadium, played catch and hit in the batting cage on Thursday. Boone said that Bird is "moving in the right direction."
Brandon Drury (migraines) took on-field batting practice and ground balls at third base on Thursday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Jacoby Ellsbury (left hip soreness) has resumed workouts in Tampa, Fla., and hit off a tee on Thursday.
Clint Frazier (concussion) was scheduled to go through a full workout with Class A Tampa on Thursday, taking batting practice and performing defensive drills. It is possible that he could resume taking at-bats in Florida State League games this week.
Tommy Kahnle (right elbow and right shoulder tendinitis) will be shut down without throwing for about 10 days, Boone said, indicating that it could be about three weeks before the right-hander returns to big league action.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.