The Yankees are hosting a doubleheader in the Bronx against the visiting Chicago White Sox on Thursday after postponing Wednesday’s game due to bad air caused by wildfires in Canada.
Yankee Stadium remains blanketed in a thick cloud of smoke, but with the air quality improving Thursday, the team felt it was safe to play a twinbill.
Thursday afternoon’s crowd seemed sparse, though that may have been a product of the postponement rather than Yankees fan anxiety.
And baseball isn’t the only New York-area sport to be affected. The New York Giants held team activities Thursday and Friday, while the race at Belmont Park was also canceled two days before the facility was scheduled to host the final leg of the Triple Crown with the Belmont stakes.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has warned that the Belmont Stakes could be voided if the air quality index rises above 200 on its scale. If the air quality is 150-200, only horses that pass an additional veterinary examination before the race will be allowed to race.
Yankees center fielder Billy McKinney (57) slips into third near a masked Yoan Moncada
Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Liam Hendriks (31) with New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone (17) at Yankee Stadium
Dangerous air quality at Yankee Stadium didn’t stop Carlos Rodón from working on Wednesday
With several members of the Yankees front office watching closely, Rodón threw 20 pitches in a mock game on the field Wednesday afternoon — the latest stage in his long rehabilitation from back problems.
The southpaw took on teammates Jake Bauers and Oswaldo Cabrera under hazy skies in the Bronx, which smelled of smoke from Canadian wildfires that disrupted professional sports schedules along the US East Coast.
“It’s a bit cloudy over there. It’s not that clear. The visibility isn’t that great. Yeah, it was interesting,’ Rodón told reporters in the clubhouse. “J I was just focused on trying to get the ball over the plate, really. I didn’t think about breathing. But yeah, I mean, it’s thick air, it is on.
Shortly after Rodón was on the mound, the unhealthy air prompted Major League Baseball to postpone New York’s game against the Chicago White Sox – as well as the Detroit Tigers’ game in Philadelphia.
Yankee Stadium after a game against the Chicago White Sox was postponed on Wednesday
Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo runs to the dugout in the second inning on Tuesday
Lance Lynn made the start for Chicago on Wednesday afternoon against Luis Severino. Mike Clevinger (3-3, 4.13) is in Game 2 against rookie Randy Vásquez (0-1, 3.86), set to make his second major league start. New York will add Vásquez to the roster as the 27th man for the twinbill.
“I guess if Major League Baseball is comfortable with having a doubleheader tomorrow, they have some type of information that it should be better than it is today, or at least safe” , said Chicago manager Pedro Grifol.
Before leaving the stadium, several White Sox played in the outfield.
Rodón has yet to pitch for the Yankees after signing a six-year, $162 million contract as a free agent in December. The two-time All-Star started the season on the injured list with a healed left forearm injury, but an ailing back significantly slowed his comeback.
He is throwing painlessly and gradually increasing since receiving a series of injections last month. Rodón said he used all of his pitches on Wednesday and his fastball was clocked at 92-94 mph. He called it a “good start” and a “great step” towards “the end goal of pitching here for the boys”.
A foggy Yankees stadium is pictured on Wednesday, before the White Sox game was postponed
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Rodón will likely have to face hitters at least twice more before heading to minor league rehab. Rodón’s next session is tentatively scheduled for Sunday.
“I was almost feeling the slope again,” Rodón said. “Hopefully next time I can refine some things and get the ball a bit more in the area.”
He said he received good feedback from his new teammates.
“Jake was saying he thought it was going well, and I was telling him I would have liked to throw a few more sliders at him for strikes,” Rodón said. “I threw a slider for a strike at Oswaldo which was pretty good, then fastballs were in the area I wanted and got a few swings and misses. Good enough for today.
As scheduled Tuesday night, the Yankees placed slugger Aaron Judge on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday with a sprained and bruised right big toe — retroactive to Sunday. The defending AL MVP was injured on Saturday when he crashed into the outfield fence in a sensational catch at Dodger Stadium.
The judge received an injection of platelet-rich plasma, but the team does not yet have a timetable for his return.
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“And I don’t think we will for probably the whole weekend. Especially now that he’s had the injection, so he’s quite sore from it,’ Boone said. “So it’s really about getting the swelling out, which I’m sure will happen in the next few days, and then hopefully I’ll have a better idea of the timeline, possibly by the weekend. “
New York called up outfielder Billy McKinney from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and traded reliever Ryan Weber (right forearm strain) to the 60-Day IL.
McKinney, 28, was batting .274 with nine home runs, 25 RBIs and an .899 OPS in 40 games at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He was traded by the Yankees to Toronto in July 2018 and re-signed to a minor league contract last December.
‘A bit of defensive flexibility. I’ve been raking for a month and a half. Really, really good play. I kind of deserved the opportunity,’ Boone said.