The Yankees have the best winning percentage in the majors and general manager Brian Cashman already is talking to teams about potential deals.
“This team has earned the right to get reinforced here if we can possibly find a way,” Cashman said. “But we certainly like the team we’ve got and would certainly love to make it better, if possible.”
Cashman’s conversations have picked up since last week’s draft and will intensify as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
As usual, they will be targeting starting pitching.
“That’s always been a focus of ours,” Cashman said before the Yankees beat the Rays 5-0 at Yankee Stadium. “We’re always trying to reinforce that and improve on it. Time will tell. In the meantime, it’s great to see what [Domingo] German has done for us. Hopefully we can get [Masahiro] Tanaka back in a timely matter and then it would be nice to be able to improve on things at the same time.”
Tanaka was back at the Stadium on Friday after suffering an inner ear issue that affected him the previous two days. On the disabled list with two stiff hamstrings, Tanaka played catch Friday.
The Rays will start righty Ryne Stanek on Saturday before turning to lefty Ryan Yarbrough to pitch the bulk of the game. Manager Aaron Boone said the strategy “may affect the construction of the lineup,” but he would still primarily base it on who needs a rest “more so than to strategize.”
Jonathan Holder threw a scoreless sixth and has still not allowed an earned run in 19 games since being recalled from SWB on April 21, a span of 21 innings.
Andy Pettitte pitched during batting practice. He will make his first appearance at Old-Timers’ Day on Sunday.
Luis Severino (9-2, 2.27 ERA) returns to the mound Saturday, following his first loss since April 10.
The Yankees ace, whose 10-start unbeaten streak was snapped after allowing two runs in five innings against the Mets last Sunday, is 5-0 with a 1.79 ERA in The Bronx this season, and has not lost at home in his past 13 starts, dating back to Sept. 3.
The Yankees traded right-handed pitcher Chad Whitmer to the Brewers, in exchange for international signing bonus pool money. Whitmer had been selected in the 10th round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft.
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