TORONTO -- The Yankees’ late-September surge has been fueled by turtle power.
It has been six games since the Yankees acquired an adorable pet turtle named Bronxie, as revealed by ESPN, and they haven’t lost yet. The secret weapon arrived in the Bronx at the suggestion of pitcher Nestor Cortes, who led a group of players in voicing the opinion that they needed a clubhouse pet.
Representing his home borough, Bronxie was in Boston for the three-game sweep of the Red Sox. Customs regulations kept the Yankees from bringing him north of the border for the second leg of the trip.
“He's a cute little guy,” manager Aaron Boone said before Tuesday’s game. “I hope he'll be with us here in spirit, and hopefully it's been something that guys have had a little bit of fun with.”
When the Yankees return home on Friday for their final homestand of the regular season, Bronxie will be waiting to greet them. Perhaps that will provide the last nudge for the Yanks to solidify their postseason position.
"Lucky charm, whatever you want to call it; I know a lot of guys believe there's a connection here," outfielder Brett Gardner told ESPN. "At the end of it, it would be great if we could go out and get him a little World Series ring."
Aaron Judge told the Yankees that he was “good to go” in Tuesday’s lineup, two days after the slugger dislocated his left pinkie finger on a headfirst slide into second base at Fenway Park.
“I think we were fortunate that it wasn’t something that was too serious or that’s going to keep him out of the lineup,” Boone said. “It will probably be something that he has to deal with, but he’s good.”
When Gerrit Cole reported for his first spring with the Yankees, his locker was placed adjacent to the one assigned for Luis Severino. The plan was that Cole and Severino would form a one-two punch at the top of the rotation, but injuries have kept Severino from contributing to the roster until now. Severino has made two relief appearances, which Cole judged as “excellent.”
“I was pleasantly surprised at the feel for the offspeed pitches,” Cole said. “To come out of the gate and be able to attack quadrants of the zone and make defined pitches in that regard was super impressive. I thought that the fastball command took a significant step in the second game against Boston when he pitched; he was able to command the bottom half of the zone as well as the top to grab the leverage and put guys away.
“He’s been tremendously strong for us, and needless to say, it's been an emotional pick-me-up for us, and I'm sure for Yankee fans, too, to see him back out there.”
Luke Voit was not in Tuesday’s starting lineup against left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu. Boone said that starting the right-handed Voit was “a strong consideration,” but ultimately Boone chose to go with the left-handed-hitting Anthony Rizzo.
This date in Yankees history
Sept. 28, 1951: Allie Reynolds tossed his second no-hitter of the season, blanking the Red Sox in an 8-0 Yankees victory at Yankee Stadium.