Andújar, 2 others optioned; Tropeano up
Boone: 'We felt like we needed another pitcher'
With Major League rosters trimmed to 28 players on Thursday, the Yankees optioned infielder/outfielder Miguel Andújar, infielder Thairo Estrada and right-hander Nick Nelson to the club’s alternate training site in Moosic, Pa.
In a corresponding move, the Yankees purchased the contract of right-hander Nick Tropeano. A product of West Islip, N.Y., Tropeano figures to provide bullpen depth with a doubleheader scheduled for this weekend against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
“We felt like we needed another pitcher,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We needed some coverage for this stretch of games with guys having some pretty good workloads a number of days in a row.”
Tropeano, who attended Spring Training and Summer Camp as a non-roster invitee, has pitched to a 4.51 ERA over 42 career games (39 starts) with the Astros and Angels since his big league debut in 2014.
The Yankees have spoken highly of Andújar, a third baseman by trade who increased his versatility by agreeing to play the outfield earlier this year. The 25-year-old Andújar was 1-for-14 (.071) this season, appearing in five games -- four in left field and one at third base.
“Unfortunately, I’ve had to have a few of those conversations with really good players that are good big league players,” Boone said. “It’s the result of having a deep and talented roster, but that doesn’t make it any easier when you’re telling a Major Leaguer that you have to option him.”
Estrada offered defensive versatility to the Opening Day roster, boasting the ability to play three infield positions as well as the outfield, but playing time was scarce for the 24-year-old. Estrada was 2-for-2 with one run scored and one RBI in two games this season.
Boone said he considers players like Andújar, Estrada and outfielder Clint Frazier to be “a play away from a regular opportunity.”
The 24-year-old Nelson enjoyed a Major League debut to remember on Aug. 1 against the Red Sox, firing three scoreless, hitless innings of relief to earn the win in a 5-2 victory over Boston. He struggled in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Phillies, charged with seven runs (six earned) and seven hits in 1 2/3 innings.
MLB has announced that 28-player rosters will remain in place from Thursday through the end of 2020 season, including the postseason. Doubleheaders will allow a 29th player, and taxi squads may increase from three to five players.
Fans have loved watching the Yankees’ ongoing power display -- 23 homers in 11 games entering Thursday, a franchise record to begin a season -- so imagine how the pitchers in the team’s bullpen have felt. Luis Avilán said the relievers are cheering right along with those viewers at home.
“It’s phenomenal,” Avilán said. “When you have this kind of offense, it will take pressure away from the pitching staff. You still want to go to the mound and not give up runs, obviously -- no pitcher wants to do that. But it definitely takes pressure away, because we know if we have a bad day and give up runs, we have a really good lineup at our back.”
Boone said the Yankees held a meeting between players and the security team to discuss the more stringent protocols handed down this week by Major League Baseball, which will include mandatory face masks for any players or coaches who are not on the field and several other measures related to travel.
“There’s obviously more eyes and more people monitoring,” Boone said. “Whether it’s at the hotel or in the clubhouse, guys are going to be checked on that, more than just from peer-to-peer. … Being a little more stringent, it will give us an opportunity to all stay safe.”
• Aaron Judge and DJ LeMahieu were not in the Yankees’ lineup on Thursday, which Boone said was a strategic decision to offer rest in advance of this weekend’s series against the Rays that includes a doubleheader.
• Gary Sánchez reported “some soreness and some stiffness” in his left elbow after being hit by a pitch on Wednesday, according to Boone, but the catcher was “pretty adamant” that he wanted to play on Thursday.
• Aroldis Chapman’s first bullpen session on Wednesday “went well,” Boone said. Chapman is scheduled to throw his second bullpen session on Saturday at the alternate training site. The plan is for Chapman to face hitters early next week.
The Yankees will open a four-game weekend series with the Rays on Friday at Tropicana Field. Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to make his second start of the season for New York, with left-hander Blake Snell on the mound for Tampa Bay. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. ET (watch live on MLB.TV and MLB Network).