DETROIT -- J.A. Happ's most effective stretch of the season has come while the veteran quietly pitches through a bout with left biceps tendinitis, which is why the Yankees left-hander zipped out of Comerica Park during the first game of Thursday's doubleheader against the Tigers.
Happ hurled 4 2/3 innings of two-run ball, logging a no-decision in the Yankees' 10-4 victory over Detroit. Happ, who saw a 19 1/3-inning scoreless streak snapped in the effort, said that he has been dealing with discomfort for "three to five starts." He is scheduled to be examined by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad.
"It's something I've been able to pitch through," Happ said. "Hopefully we can figure something out, just to get some relief in between to make sure we're getting the work in we need to. The fact I can go out there and throw, and I feel like I've thrown pretty well the last several [games], is pretty encouraging."
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that Happ's return to New York was planned ahead of time, since he will not be needed to pitch in the team's upcoming series in Toronto, and that the Yankees do not believe that Happ's tendinitis is a significant concern.
Boone said that it had no bearing on Happ's removal in the fifth inning of Thursday's game, noting his pitch count (99) and that the Tigers were starting to take better swings against him.
"We kind of determined it's not anything abnormal, and something that's he's dealt with at different times throughout his career," Boone said. "We feel like he's going to be fine moving forward, and obviously he's in a pretty good place throwing the ball right now."
Happ said that he dealt with a similar issue in 2016 and that a cortisone injection could be required. He lobbied the team to continue pitching, saying that it was "something I wanted to do."
"The last time I had this, I was pitching in the middle of pitching really well," Happ said. "I'm just trying to rely on the fact that I have done it before. I think I can still go out there and get results. I don't think today I was as sharp as I was the last couple, but I don't directly correlate that to the shoulder. I think I will be fine and I can adjust to whatever way I am feeling."
In 29 starts this year, Happ is 12-8 with a 5.07 ERA. He signed a two-year, $34 million contract this past offseason that includes a vesting option for the 2021 season.