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Notes: Deivi kept ready with brother in DR

Judge takes swings in indoor cage; Tanaka making progress
@BryanHoch
July 13, 2020

NEW YORK -- Deivi Garcia raised his left knee from the Yankee Stadium mound on Monday afternoon, the Yankees right-hander showcasing silky smooth form as his body generated torque, delivering a hissing fastball over the outside corner of home plate. After months of throwing while under quarantine at his home

NEW YORK -- Deivi Garcia raised his left knee from the Yankee Stadium mound on Monday afternoon, the Yankees right-hander showcasing silky smooth form as his body generated torque, delivering a hissing fastball over the outside corner of home plate.

After months of throwing while under quarantine at his home in the Dominican Republic, being able to work off a big league mound and face hitters at Summer Camp has been a treat for Garcia, who is the Yankees’ No. 3 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

“That's why I wanted to keep on practicing and staying in shape, so that if that call was ever to come, that I'd be ready,” Garcia said through an interpreter. “In my head, I was always positive and encouraged that it was going to happen.”

When Spring Training halted in March, Garcia returned to his hometown of Bonao. Helping Garcia keep his arm in shape became a family affair; one of Garcia’s brothers, Andres, is a 17-year-old pitcher in the Blue Jays’ farm system. They’d frequently throw on the paved street near their home, under tree branches and power lines.

“If I needed to long-toss and do more than regular playing catch, I would go to the field at certain hours where there were not that many people around,” Garcia said.

Garcia pitched to a 4.28 ERA at three levels of the Yankees’ farm system last season, recording 165 strikeouts against 54 walks in 111 1/3 innings, and likely would have started the season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre had it not been interrupted.

“I don't think it's going to hold me back or prevent me from taking strides to progress in my career,” Garcia said. “If you look at the fact that I'm here today, I'm very thankful for that opportunity to be here and be in this camp and have an opportunity to showcase what I can do on the field.”

In the swing
Aaron Judge (stiff neck) took swings in the indoor batting cage on Monday afternoon, according to manager Aaron Boone, though Judge did not appear on the field for a third consecutive day. Boone said he was not certain if Judge would play in Tuesday’s intrasquad game.

“He’s got way more range of motion, and they've gotten a lot of that pain out of there when he turns to the side and things like that,” Boone said. “So I think [Judge is] quite a bit better today.”

Since playing 155 games during his American League Rookie of the Year Award-winning season in 2017, Judge has been limited to 214 of a possible 324 games over the last two years, though he has appeared in all 14 of the club’s postseason contests during that time.

“There’s no question he's had some [injury] things, but I feel comfortable with the work he does and what he puts into making sure he takes care of himself with the ability to post,” Boone said. “He understands the importance of it. Time will tell, but I do feel like it is something that it'll prove out that he's a durable guy.”

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A Tanaka time?
Boone said the Yankees are beginning to look ahead for a potential date when Masahiro Tanaka will be able to toss from a mound. Tanaka sustained a concussion when he was hit by a 112 mph Giancarlo Stanton liner on July 4, and the right-hander remains under MLB’s concussion protocol.

“He's doing well,” Boone said. “He ramped up a little bit more today; he was out there throwing again today. I think he got a lower body workout in today and continues to respond the right way with the added workload. We’re encouraged but also making sure we go slow and smartly with it.”

Because Tanaka will have to progress toward facing hitters again, Boone suggested that it will be difficult to expect Tanaka to be ready to pitch in games by the first week of the regular season.

“Obviously, he's not going to be built up very much,” Boone said. “I'm kind of 'a step at a time' right now with Masa. He's getting to the point to where the next step will be getting on the mound and seeing how it responds from a side [session].”

Nats, not Mets
The Yankees have determined that right-hander Gerrit Cole will pitch on Friday, which will allow him one additional day of rest prior to the July 23 opener against the Nationals. In theory, Cole could have taken the extra day now, had the Yankees wanted him to pitch in Saturday’s exhibition against the Mets at Citi Field.

“We value having that sixth day going into his first start of the year, which will be in Washington,” Boone said.

Bombers bits
Boone said infielder Rosell Herrera, who was a non-roster standout during the first iteration of Spring Training, has been unable to play since Thursday due to soreness in both heels.

Up next
The Yankees will continue their Summer Camp workouts on Tuesday, hosting an intrasquad game that is scheduled to begin at 5:15 p.m. ET. Left-hander Jordan Montgomery and right-hander Chad Green will start the contest. The YES Network will air coverage beginning at 4 p.m.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.