Happ: Donning pinstripes 'feels good already'

July 28th, 2018

NEW YORK -- Left-hander J.A. Happ thought that he would be traded in the days leading up to Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, but he was anxious about where he would ultimately end up. When he found out on Thursday that he would be joining the Yankees, he felt "excitement and relief."

"I like to compete, and there's probably no better stage to do that. So I'm really excited about it," Happ said on Saturday. "I've been traded before, and I can handle that part of it, but things are a little different now with a family, so the logistics of all that, I was a little anxious about it. I'm happy that that part is over and I can kind of just keep moving forward and I know where I'll be."

Both of New York's July acquisitions have come from within the American League East, with Happ and former Oriole Zach Britton joining the team. Happ said that staying in the same division could be taken as either an advantage or a disadvantage, but he prefers to view it as the former.

"I think it depends how you look at it," he said. "I think I'm going to try to take it as an advantage where I've faced the guys before and have a memory bank to go back from and try to utilize as far as a scouting standpoint. That's kind of given me my insight before."

He has used that memory bank throughout his career to post especially stellar numbers against the Red Sox. In 19 games (18 starts), he is 7-4 with a 2.98 ERA.

"I don't think I can answer that," Happ said when asked about his success against Boston. "I don't know, like I said, I like to compete, and I think it's just, fortunately, I've been able to have success against that team. They're a juggernaut this year as well, so it's always a challenge."

Happ represented the Blue Jays as an All-Star for the first time this year after having a strong start to the season, going 10-3 with a 3.62 ERA through his first 16 starts. But he has struggled of late, recording three consecutive losses in July -- two of which were outings that lasted fewer than four innings -- before settling for a no-decision the last time he took the mound.

"I think the results haven't been there, but there's no physical issue, really," he said. "I think, for me, it's always been about being aggressive. After I get in trouble, when I put guys on base, give them free passes, that seems to be something that when I look back on poor results, that's usually the indicator. Try to avoid those as best I can and take my chances on guys."

Happ, who made his Major League debut in 2007, wore five different uniforms before coming to New York, and said something felt different about putting on the pinstripes.

"I think all players, if they're being honest, they have the question in the back of their head, 'What would it be like to put the pinstripes on?'" he said. "So, definitely special. It feels good already."