When Gerrit Cole takes the mound Wednesday night in St. Petersburg, Fla., the New York Yankees’ ace will be looking to exact some revenge on the home club.
The Yankees will be playing the middle contest of their second three-game series against Tampa Bay in Florida, and the Rays haven’t exactly been a welcoming host to their rivals from the Bronx.
However, New York started its 10-game road trip Tuesday night with a 3-1 win over the Rays, getting solo homers from Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez and three-hit pitching from starter Jordan Montgomery, Jonathan Loaisiga and Aroldis Chapman.
Still, Cole (4-1, 1.61 ERA) has his Tampa Bay problems. In eight regular-season starts against the Rays, Cole is 0-4 with a 3.91 ERA and eight home runs surrendered.
Of the 30 big-league teams, 28 of them have wins against the right-hander, with only the Rays and Houston Astros holding an unblemished mark against the dominant Cole. He has faced the Astros — whom he pitched for in the 2018 and 2019 seasons — just twice.
On Tuesday morning, New York reinstated first baseman Luke Voit after surgery on his left knee on March 29 and a rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes- Barre.
“He obviously is an impact hitter, an impact bat and just adds a little bit more length and a little bit more heaviness to our lineup,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I feel like he’s in a good spot physically.”
In his first game, Voit batted fifth and went 0-for-3 and was hit by a pitch while manning first base.
The Rays broke their own news regarding first base a little later. The organization DFA’d slumping Yoshi Tsutsugo, who has struggled even more after a poor 51-game showing last season during the club’s epic run to the World Series.
With fellow left-handed hitter Ji-Man Choi close to returning from Triple-A Durham, the Rays are crowded at first base, where Tsutsugo has shared time with righty-hitting Yandy Diaz, who has played well defensively in 27 games.
Tsutsugo hit .197 with eight homers and 24 RBIs in 2020 and followed it up with a .167 average, no homers and five RBIs in 26 games this season. The organization felt it was time to cut ties with the 29-year-old Japanese corner infielder/outfielder.
The club still owes Tsutsugo nearly $5.5 million as part of his original two-year, $12 million deal. It also paid his former Nippon Professional Baseball team — Yokohama — $2.4 million.
“The bottom-line results were not what he and we wanted,” Rays GM Erik Neander said. “Things snowballed a little bit over the last several weeks. We felt it was best to give someone else an opportunity at this point.”
In a corresponding move, the club called up infielder Kevin Padlo, who started at third base Tuesday and went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
Collin McHugh (0-1, 7.36) will make his second start and sixth appearance for the Rays on Wednesday. The right-hander is 3-2 with a 4.78 ERA in eight games — four of them starts — against the Yankees.
–Field Level Media