MINNEAPOLIS — Zack Britton could rejoin the Yankees’ bullpen very soon, perhaps as early as Saturday in Philadelphia.
The left-hander threw a scoreless inning in a rehab appearance for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday, bouncing back from his previous outing, when he allowed four runs and only retired one batter.
Britton has been out all season after battling COVID-19 during the offseason before undergoing elbow surgery to remove a bone chip during spring training.
Aaron Boone said before Britton’s appearance Thursday there was “definitely a chance he’s back on this road trip. We’ll see how he’s doing [Friday]. He’s getting toward the back end, or end, of his rehab assignment.’’
The Yankees have gotten by without Britton with the help of other lefties, including Lucas Luetge, who pitched effectively again in Thursday’s 7-5 loss to the Twins at Target Field.
With the Yankees set to play two games in Philadelphia without the DH, Boone said Giancarlo Stanton remains unavailable to play in the outfield. The Yankees have handled Stanton very carefully, especially after his return from an IL stint due to a strained left quad.
“I don’t plan on using him in the outfield yet,’’ Boone said. “But it is something as the summer unfolds hopefully I’m still very open to that being in play. We’ll have to communicate with [him]. He’s starting to workout in the outfield again. We’ll see if that becomes an option in the coming weeks.”
Aaron Judge started in center Thursday night, with the Yankees trying to get some days off for 37-year-old Brett Gardner. There are no clear options at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, with Estevan Florial struggling and Ryan LaMarre and Greg Allen not known for their bats.
Luis Severino is due to make his next rehab start on Saturday, potentially with Single-A Hudson Valley in Brooklyn.
Boone said he’s scheduled to throw three innings and 40 pitches. Once his 30-day rehab clock expires, the Yankees could bring him back, even if he’s not built up to be a starter.
Deivi Garcia had another rough outing at Triple-A, allowing five earned runs in two innings on five hits, three walks and two homers. Off days on Friday and Monday mean the Yankees won’t be considering a sixth starter anytime soon, but they still need depth in the rotation at some point.
Bernie Williams played the national anthem on the guitar. He was at the game to raise awareness for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which took his father’s life.
Chris Gittens briefly appeared to have hit his first major league homer in the fourth. The ball went foul down the right field line, but it was initially ruled a homer and Gittens jogged around the bases, but the call was reversed on a crew chief challenge and Gittens ended up grounding back to the pitcher.