While Aaron Judge began the healing process in his right big toe, the New York Yankees settled for partial success in their first full day without their star slugger.
After splitting a doubleheader in less-than-ideal sky conditions on Thursday, the host Yankees will attempt to capitalize on somerecent struggles by the Boston Red Sox in the opener of a three-game series between the longtime rivals on Friday night.
New York is 7-4 over its past 11 contests after the twin bill against the Chicago White Sox. In the first game, Yankees reliever Michael King allowed a two-run homer in the seventh inning in a 6-5 loss, but three New York pitchers combined on a two-hitter in a 3-0 victory in the nightcap.
Billy McKinney, who was promoted from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre when Judge landed on the injured list with a sprained and bruised right big toe, tripled and scored in his season debut in the first game on Thursday. He hit a solo home run in the second game.
"Good to see him come up, and like some of the other guys that have gotten opportunities, he came up and contributed," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
McKinney, who was hitting .274 at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, will be part out of an outfield rotation that includes Willie Calhoun, Jake Bauers and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Calhoun, who batted leadoff in both games, homered in the opener and had three hits on the day. In the second game, he doubled before Gleyber Torres hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning.
McKinney said, "Just help the team win, that's the goal, and win as many games as we can. Obviously Aaron Judge, he's one of a kind, just do my best to help the team win, and that's all that matters."
Boston heads to New York for the first time since getting swept in a four-game series last September.
This year, the Red Sox were 26-20 after earning a 4-2 win in San Diego on May 20. Since then, they are 5-12.
Boston slipped back under .500 for the first time since April 28 after losing two of three to the host Cleveland Guardians this week.
After winning the opener 5-4 on Tuesday, the Red Sox lost 5-2 on Wednesday. The rubber game brought an ugly 10-3 defeat on Thursday when Boston starter Matt Dermody allowed two homers to Jose Ramirez, and Corey Kluber allowed the star third baseman to hit another one in the sixth.
The Red Sox also sat Alex Verdugo for not hustling on the bases in the seventh inning on Wednesday. Verdugo is expected to return to the lineup on Friday.
"We just felt like on that play his reaction wasn't a great one, not hustling his behind to second," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "I don't know if he was out or safe, but I didn't like it. I felt like it wasn't acceptable, and he knows it."
Gerrit Cole (7-0, 2.82 ERA) gets the start on Friday for the Yankees after exiting his last outing early due to cramping. In a 6-3 win over the host Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, Cole allowed one run on four hits in six innings while throwing 80 pitches.
Cole is 7-3 with a 4.40 ERA in 15 career starts against the Red Sox.
Boston's Garrett Whitlock (2-2, 5.61 ERA) will make his sixth start and third since returning from an injured right elbow. After allowing one run in five innings on May 27 at Arizona, Whitlock surrendered four runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision at home against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. The Red Sox rallied for an 8-5 victory in that game.
Whitlock, an 18th-round pick by the Yankees in 2017, is 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA in 12 career appearances -- all in relief -- against New York since Boston picked him up as a Rule 5 pick following the 2020 season.
--Field Level Media