Inbox: Should Judge move down in order?

Beat reporter Bryan Hoch answers Yanks fans' questions

Inbox: Should Judge move down in order?

I believe moving Aaron Judge down in the order will take some pressure off and allow him not to be so much the focus of the team. What do you think?
-- Michael O., Georgia

That could be an appealing way for Judge to reset and clear his head, but only as a temporary move. I still believe for the Yankees to get where they want to be, Judge needs to be a productive force in the middle of the order. It seemed telling after Sunday's game in Boston when he, unprompted, said, "I'm a three-hitter. I'm the middle of the order. I've got to be that guy for the team."

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Limited support for Gray as Yanks fall to Sox

Limited support for Gray as Yanks fall to Sox

BOSTON -- For the second straight weekend, the Red Sox were successful in their quest of preventing the Yankees from making a dent in the American League East standings.

Backed by a pair of two-out RBI hits by Jackie Bradley Jr. and a strong pitching performance from the resurgent Rick Porcello, Boston once again took two out of three from New York, opening up a five-game lead in the division with a 5-1 victory on Sunday at Fenway Park.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Players Weekend nearly put Gray in a 'Pickles'

Yankees right-hander got nickname from a few Oakland teammates

Players Weekend nearly put Gray in a 'Pickles'

NEW YORK -- When the Yankees' roster of Players Weekend nicknames started to circulate in their clubhouse, most of them seemed to make sense pretty quickly. Aaron "All Rise" Judge, Clint "Red Thunder" Frazier and Aroldis "The Missile" Chapman were among the more inspired choices that fit the players' personas.

Then there is the mystery of Sonny "Pickles" Gray -- a delicious grocery store staple, to be sure, but not a word that you might expect to be attached to a standout right-handed pitcher. So what's the dill, Sonny?

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tanaka to return when Yanks hit Detroit

Tanaka to return when Yanks hit Detroit

Masahiro Tanaka is set to return to the mound on Tuesday as the American League Wild Card-leading Yankees open a three-game series with the Tigers at Comerica Park, with the right-hander saying that he hopes a brief time-out has restored the energy in his arm for the remainder of the postseason push.

Tanaka was placed on the 10-day disabled list after his most recent outing on Aug. 9, reporting that he felt "fatigue throughout the arm" after he issued a career-high five walks in four innings against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Guzman fans seven for Staten Island

Guzman fans seven for Staten Island

Indians prospects Francisco Mejia and Bobby Bradley helped bring Akron's five-game losing streak to an end on Monday as the duo combined for five extra-base hits, five runs and six RBIs in a 13-5 victory against Harrisburg.

Mejia, MLB Pipeline's No. 16 overall prospect (Indians' No. 1), paced the Rubberducks' offense with a 3-for-4 performance and three runs scored. Batting third for Akron, the 21-year-old catcher hit back-to-back doubles in his first two at-bats before connecting on a solo shot to right-center field in the sixth inning.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Girardi: Judge to stay in No. 3 spot in order

Despite slugger's second-half struggles, no plans to reshuffle lineup

Girardi: Judge to stay in No. 3 spot in order

BOSTON -- The Yankees believe that Aaron Judge can fight out of the extended skid that has dented his statistics in the second half, and as such, manager Joe Girardi said that he plans to keep the big-swinging rookie in the No. 3 spot of the lineup.

Judge endured a rough weekend as the Yankees lost two of three games to the division-leading Red Sox, going 1-for-12 with five strikeouts. He was hitless in Sunday's 5-1 loss and is batting .169 (21-for-104) with seven homers and 14 RBIs in 35 games since the All-Star break.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Andujar, German lead RailRiders to win

Andujar, German lead RailRiders to win

Yankees prospects Miguel Andujar and Domingo German led Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to a 3-0 win over Durham with a pair of strong performances on Sunday.

Andujar, the Yankees' No. 6 prospect, extended his hitting streak to six games and drove in two of the RailRiders' three runs. The 22-year-old, who finished 3-for-4, hit a solo homer in the sixth and then added an RBI double in the eighth, which brought his average up to .326 through 45 games at the Triple-A level.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chapman loses job as Yankees' closer

If/when lefty regains role uncertain; Betances gets 9th vs. Sox, but Robertson also option

Chapman loses job as Yankees' closer

BOSTON -- Four straight ineffective appearances bumped Aroldis Chapman out of his job as the Yankees' closer on Saturday, and with Dellin Betances and David Robertson taking over as a fluid late-inning tandem, there is no guarantee of when (or if) the flame-thrower will reclaim that title.

With Chapman idle, manager Joe Girardi trusted Robertson and Betances to record the final seven outs of Saturday's 4-3 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park, with Betances pitching around a strikeout-wild pitch to pick up his ninth save in 11 chances.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Managing pain, CC manages to set K record

Lefty returns from DL to throw 6 solid frames, become AL strikeout leader among lefties

Managing pain, CC manages to set K record

BOSTON -- Twelve days ago, CC Sabathia glumly sat on the stairs that lead out of the visitors' clubhouse at Rogers Centre, resting an aching right knee that he was almost certain needed surgery. Booked on a flight back to New York, the lefty wondered if this was the game's way of telling him to go home for good.

But after a surprisingly clean MRI exam and a 10-day stint on the disabled list, here he was, walking off the mound at Fenway Park with six strong innings in the books and about to pick up the win in a 4-3 Yankees victory. He also reached an interesting footnote in the second inning, whiffing Chris Young for his 2,680th strikeout in the American League, surpassing Mickey Lolich (2,679) for the most by a left-hander in the Junior Circuit. Sabathia had already passed Frank Tanana (2,669) on the list.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Homers off Sale hold up as Yanks hold off Sox

Homers off Sale hold up as Yanks hold off Sox

BOSTON -- The Yankees sensed the urgency to avoid losing any more ground in the American League East race, which meant they had to defeat heavy AL Cy Young Award favorite Chris Sale. With a couple of home run swings, they pulled off that daunting task en route to an important 4-3 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Saturday.

Tyler Austin mashed a three-run shot in the second inning and Todd Frazier provided crucial insurance with a solo shot in the sixth, as New York cut Boston's division lead back down to four games while setting up a rubber match on Sunday afternoon.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stephan unhittable for Staten Island

Stephan unhittable for Staten Island

Trevor Stephan, the Yankees' No. 30 prospect, led the Class A Short Season Staten Island pitching staff with a dominant performance in a 5-0 win over Lowell on Saturday.

For a second straight start, Stephan dealt four hitless innings as Staten Island came within three outs of a combined no-hitter. He struck out six batters and did not issue a walk. It's an impressive feat for a pitcher who is still adjusting to professional ball after he was selected in the third round of this June's Draft.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yanks drop seesaw affair to Sox, fall 5 back

Yanks drop seesaw affair to Sox, fall 5 back

BOSTON -- The rivalry has been back to its riveting best the last two weekends, and no lead ever feels safe.

The Yankees and Red Sox traded impressive comebacks in Friday night's series opener, but Boston prevailed with a 9-6 victory that had Fenway Park rocking in the late innings -- and with good reason.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bird smacks 2 HRs in rehab game at Triple-A

Veterans Castro, Holliday begin playing in Minors contests

Bird smacks 2 HRs in rehab game at Triple-A

BOSTON -- The Yankees could soon add a trio of formidable reinforcements to their lineup for the postseason push, as Greg Bird, Starlin Castro and Matt Holliday all have Minor League rehabilitation assignments underway.

Coming off right ankle surgery, Bird hit two homers for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against Durham on Friday, and he is 4-for-10 with three runs scored and four RBIs in three games with the Yanks' top farm affiliate. Castro (right hamstring strain) went 0-for-4 with a walk in that game, while Holliday (left lumbar strain) went 0-for-4 with a walk and an RBI groundout for Class A Advanced Tampa in a 7-6 loss to Fort Myers.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Petriello

Rebuilt Yankees 'pen is game's scariest unit

New York's relief corps' 2.41 ERA past 30 days is best in Majors

Rebuilt Yankees 'pen is game's scariest unit

A month ago today, the Yankees made the trade everyone expected, upgrading their third-base situation by acquiring Todd Frazier from the White Sox. As the biggest name in the deal, and with third base being New York's biggest trouble spot, it was "the Todd Frazier trade." Even here, we understandably relegated the other pieces headed to the Bronx to the "New York also receives …" section.

A month later, it's not the Frazier trade any longer, if it even was in the first place. It's the "Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson trade," and it's one of a few reasons that the Yankees have turned a bullpen group that was in disarray in June into what may be baseball's most dominating unit down the stretch. We learned last year that bullpens are what matter in October, even more than starters. If the Yanks can hold onto their current 3 1/2-game American League Wild Card lead and make it to October, this is going to matter, a lot.

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Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sanchez authoring another torrid August

Yanks catcher's current hot streak reminiscent of last year's historic tear

Sanchez authoring another torrid August

NEW YORK -- Gary Sanchez strapped the Yankees onto his back last August, when the power-hitting catcher enjoyed a historic surge that kept the team in the postseason race into the season's final weeks. His teammates may be wondering if a repeat performance is already underway.

One night after Aaron Judge awed the dugout with a stunning moonshot to the third deck, it was Sanchez's turn to flex some muscle, belting his 22nd home run as part of a five-RBI performance in Thursday's 7-5 victory over the Mets at Citi Field.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yanks sweep, in driver's seat atop WC hunt

Yanks sweep, in driver's seat atop WC hunt

NEW YORK -- Luis Severino bounced back from the worst start of his career while Gary Sanchez flexed his muscle by driving in five runs, helping the Yankees complete a four-game sweep of this year's Subway Series with a 7-5 victory over the Mets on Thursday evening at Citi Field.

One outing after being rocked for a career-high 10 runs (eight earned) by the Red Sox, Severino recaptured the form that has elevated him into the Yanks' ace this season, holding the Mets to an unearned run and four hits over 6 1/3 innings to pick up his fifth victory in six starts.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Severino's first career hit elated teammates

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Severino's first career hit elated teammates

Luis Severino was in terrific form on Thursday night against the Mets. He shut them out over the first six innings as the Yankees ran the score up to 7-0 by the end of the fourth.

A surprising contributor to the Yankees' offense was Severino himself. He entered the game hitless in four career at-bats, but he caught a break in the top of the fourth.

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Yanks recall 1B Austin, place Cooper on DL

Yanks recall 1B Austin, place Cooper on DL

NEW YORK -- One year ago this week, Tyler Austin made history when he and Aaron Judge homered back-to-back in their first Major League at-bats, becoming the first pair of teammates to do so.

His 2017 campaign has not been quite as memorable, as Austin has endured stints on the disabled list for a fractured left ankle and a right hamstring strain, but the 25-year-old celebrated his return to The Show on Thursday for the finale of this year's Subway Series.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Judge hits 117-mph rocket into 3rd deck at Citi

Yanks slugger joins Cespedes as only players to reach that level in a game

Judge hits 117-mph rocket into 3rd deck at Citi

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge would prefer not to talk about his own homers, and when pressed on the issue, he swears that all of them feel pretty much the same. While that's probably true, anyone who witnessed his most recent blast is not likely to forget it.

Playing in his first career game at Citi Field, Judge reached a seating area that few players have, crushing his American League-leading 37th homer into the left-field third deck in the Yankees' 5-3 Subway Series victory over the Mets.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Clutch Didi, mighty Judge lift Yanks over Mets

Clutch Didi, mighty Judge lift Yanks over Mets

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge awed his teammates with one of the most impressive home runs in Citi Field history and Didi Gregorius delivered a tiebreaking hit to lead the Yankees past the Mets, 5-3, in Subway Series action on Wednesday evening.

The rookie phenom immediately put his head down and began running the bases after his American League-leading 37th homer, a titanic fourth-inning blast off Robert Gsellman. Playing his first career game in Queens, Judge joined Yoenis Cespedes as the only players to reach the third deck in left field.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chapman to remain closer, hopes to avoid DL

Girardi gives struggling left-hander vote of confidence after 3 rough outings

Chapman to remain closer, hopes to avoid DL

NEW YORK -- The Yankees offered two votes of confidence for Aroldis Chapman on Wednesday afternoon, with manager Joe Girardi stating that "he will continue to be my closer" and that he believes the left-hander will be able to avoid a stint on the disabled list.

Chapman reported that his right hamstring tightened in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 5-4 win over the Mets, in which Chapman appeared despondent after surrendering a two-run homer to rookie Amed Rosario. Girardi said that no MRI has been scheduled for Chapman, though he was unavailable to pitch Wednesday.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Steinbrenner: Yanks have sights on postseason

Managing general partner emphasizes club's annual mindset

Steinbrenner: Yanks have sights on postseason

CHICAGO -- To Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, the criteria are pretty clear cut.

"If we don't make the playoffs," Steinbrenner said Wednesday at the MLB Owners Meetings, "it's a failure. Any year, any year. That's just the mindset for us."

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

WWE stars award Judge with championship belt

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WWE stars award Judge with championship belt

Aaron Judge has racked up quite a few accolades during his remarkable 2017 season, from an All-Star selection to a Home Run Derby crown to his very own fan section. But despite that barrage of dingers, he was still missing out on one particular prize: his very own championship belt.

Luckily, Alexa Bliss, Braun Strowman and Big Cass of the WWE stopped by Yankee Stadium prior Tuesday's Mets-Yankees game to fix that.

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Gray handcuffs Mets for 1st win with Yanks

Gray handcuffs Mets for 1st win with Yanks

NEW YORK -- Sonny Gray hurled six-plus solid innings and outpitched Jacob deGrom to pick up his first win in pinstripes, and Aroldis Chapman survived a bumpy ninth inning as the Yankees defeated the Mets, 5-4, on Tuesday evening, concluding the Yankee Stadium portion of the Subway Series.

Backed by homers from Jacoby Ellsbury and Gary Sanchez, Gray made his first home start since being acquired by the Yanks and held the Mets scoreless until Dominic Smith's first big league homer in the seventh. Working in front of a sellout crowd of 46,474, the right-hander scattered five hits in a 104-pitch effort, walking two and striking out five.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chapman closes it out, but struggles continue

Yanks lefty allows at least one run for third straight outing, another homer

Chapman closes it out, but struggles continue

NEW YORK -- Aroldis Chapman crouched at the front of the mound while Amed Rosario circled the bases around him, remaining motionless until catcher Gary Sanchez finally patted the struggling closer on the back with his glove.

That visual, along with the telling grimace as Chapman sprinted to cover first base for the final out of a 5-4 victory over the Mets, spoke volumes about the Yankees' ninth-inning situation. Chapman said that his tight hamstring -- he didn't specify which one -- is "nothing to worry about," but his performance has been.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sanchez on a tear since lunch with A-Rod, J-Lo

Sanchez on a tear since lunch with A-Rod, J-Lo

NEW YORK -- Are Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez partially to thank for Gary Sanchez's offensive surge?

The catcher homered for the fourth time in seven games on Tuesday, helping the Yankees to a 5-4 win over the Mets, and said that a recent power lunch in midtown Manhattan with the superstar couple helped to clear his mind.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.