CHICAGO -- Zack Britton made the long walk from the mound at the Field of Dreams ballpark in Dyersville, Iowa, on Thursday, attempting to ignore the fireworks exploding over center field while Tim Anderson was mobbed by his White Sox teammates at home plate.
As the Yankees prepared for their bus ride and short flight to Chicago, Britton sought out Aaron Boone for a difficult chat. Britton told the manager that he shouldn’t receive save opportunities right now; with closer Aroldis Chapman on the injured list, those chances now figure to go to Chad Green or Jonathan Loaisiga.
“I told him that I don’t deserve to be out there in the ninth inning, and other guys deserve it,” Britton said. “I haven’t been pitching the way I should be to be out there when the team needs to win. I told him, 'I want to pitch -- whenever you need me, I’ll be ready. But I don’t deserve to be out there in those situations right now.'”
It has been a difficult season for Britton, a two-time All-Star who has pitched to a 6.19 ERA in 19 appearances.
Britton lost 18 pounds after a preseason bout with COVID-19, then had his season debut delayed by surgery to remove a bone chip from his left elbow. Britton has also spent time on the injured list with a left hamstring injury sustained in late July.
“It’s tough to swallow your pride a little bit,” Britton said. “I told him, 'I know what my track record is, but that doesn’t mean anything right now. I’m not where I want to be physically. I don’t want to lose games for the team in that spot. I feel like other guys deserve that job; Lo and Chad have been outstanding this year. They deserve every chance to close out games for us.'”
Boone said that he will consider the ninth inning on a day-by-day basis as the Yanks wait for Chapman to return from his stint on the injured list with left elbow inflammation. Chapman played long-toss on Saturday in Chicago but has not thrown in the bullpen since being shelved.
“Every night for us, especially with how much we've had to lean on our bullpen, that just kind of remains a fluid situation,” Boone said. “We'll continue to try and get Britt into more situations where we feel like he can be really successful. I still think he's going to play a huge role for us as we go down the stretch here. We’ve got to get him back to that point all the way.”
Britton pitched in the 10th inning of Saturday's 7-5 win over the White Sox, retiring the first batter he faced but allowing two walks and a hit for an unearned run before Albert Abreu replaced him. Britton got his eighth hold for the effort.
Here to help
Jonathan Davis said that he was “a little shocked” to learn that the Yankees had claimed him on waivers from the Blue Jays on Aug. 3, but the 29-year-old outfielder is ready to embrace any opportunities for playing time in the Bronx.
“I know my value; I know I can contribute to a team,” Davis said. “Whether it’s laying a bunt down, stealing bases, playing the outfield in the late innings or hitting against a lefty -- whatever that may be.”
Davis appeared twice during the Yanks’ series in Kansas City, including a start in center field on Tuesday. A .176 career hitter in 128 big league games, Davis said that he has spoken with hitting coach Marcus Thames about possible tweaks to his plate approach.
“They want me to be more aggressive with my hitting,” Davis said. “That's something that I'm trying to do and I need to do better of, going up there being ready to hit. That's what I'm trying to do going forward.”
This date in Yankees history
Aug. 14, 1993: The Yanks celebrated Reggie Jackson Day at Yankee Stadium, retiring the Hall of Famer’s uniform No. 44. “Mr. October” hit 144 of his 563 home runs with the Yankees from 1977-81.