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Series Preview: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays (7/23-7/25)

Following their rain-shortened two-game series split against the Mets at home this past weekend, the Yankees head down South for three days to face the Rays in Tampa Bay.  Tropicana Field has, in a way, been a house of horrors for New York, having gone just 4-9 at The Trop since the beginning of 2017 including an ugly three-game sweep just a month ago. The Yankees will begin play today at 63-34, five full games behind the first place Red Sox.  Tampa Bay comes in at 50-49, 19 games out of first and 9.5 games back of Seattle for the second Wild Card position. With trade rumors swirling for both squads and the teams headed in opposite directions, this series provides a key opportunity for the Yankees to get back on track and put pressure on Boston to once again close up the AL East race.

Gary Sanchez promoted to big leagues

Picture Credit: Arnulfo Franco-AP
Shortly after their win against the Royals to take 3 of 4 from the defending world champs, the Yankees called up the BBB’s 3rd ranked prospect in catcher Gary Sanchez. After a dismal Spring Training, Sanchez got into a grove in 26 games in Triple-A hitting .288 with 5 homers, 21 RBI and 11 doubles. The news was first reported by Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders beat writer Shane Hennigan.

Yankee fans were expecting the team to make a move for the weekend series against the Chicago White Sox with two of top left-handed pitchers in Chris Sale and Jose Quintana scheduled to pitch on Friday and Saturday. Some expected Rob Refsnyder to get the call as he has been heating up, but it ended up being Sanchez, and this is likely due to the power he will bring to the lower half of the lineup.

With the tall task of facing Sale and Quintana on consecutive days, Sanchez should get a start or two either behind the plate, or at designated hitter in place of an injured Alex Rodriguez. This call-up allows the team to get creative and potentially move Brian McCann to first base for a game if they feel the need to do so.

The corresponding move for Sanchez has yet to be announced, but with an extra pitcher in the bullpen, it is likely that either Nick Goody, Tyler Olsen or Phil Coke boards the Scranton-Shuttle. Catcher Austin Romine is out of minor-league options meaning he will have to pass through waivers, and with his recent successes at the plate, it is unlikely that the team tries to pass him through waivers.

With the Yankees likely to be carrying three catchers this weekend, Sanchez’s promotion may be short-lived, but this is contingent on how he performs. If he has success at the plate, it may make it tough for Brian Cashman and company to send him back down to Scranton with the completion of the series, so that is something to keep an eye on going forward. We’ll keep you updated on our twitter as this story develops.

Article by: Chad Raines
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