Sonny Gray had something important to tell his 2?-year-old son.
“Gunnar, I am not going to be playing for the A’s anymore,” the pitcher recalled. “I am going to be playing for the Yankees.”
“He just says, ‘Why dad? Why?'”
By Tuesday, Gunnar Gray was wearing a fresh New York Yankees cap. His dad was in uniform, throwing a bullpen in the Bronx one day after he was acquired from the Oakland Athletics for three prospects.
Jaime Garcia also reported to the AL East leaders, two days after he was obtained from the Minnesota Twins. Gray is to make his Yankees debut on Thursday at Cleveland, followed by Garcia the following night. Rookie left-hander Jordan Montgomery starts Saturday and Luis Severino takes the mound for the series finale.
Manager Joe Girardi is using a six-man rotation this week because Severino threw a career-high 116 pitches Monday night against Detroit. Girardi plans to go back to five starters, and Montgomery is the pitcher likely to be dropped.
“You have six relievers and six starters, and you get rid of one of your relievers that can give you distance, it puts you in a bind,” Girardi said. “If the commissioner would let me add another man on the roster and have 26, I would really think about it. But I called, and he said no.”
Making an unexpected playoff push in the first full season of a youth movement, the Yankees have turned over more than 20 percent of their roster in two weeks. They added third baseman Todd Frazier and relief pitchers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle in a July 18 trade with the Chicago White Sox.
Gray was an All-Star in 2015, when he won 14 games for the second consecutive season and finished third in AL Cy Young Award voting. The 27-year-old right-hander has been slowed by injuries, a strained upper back and forearm that limited him to 22 starts last year, and a strained lat muscle that delayed his first start this season to May 2. He is 6-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 16 starts this season, including 4-2 with a 1.37 ERA in his last six outings.
“I kind of missed the second half of last year, and coming back, I missed most of spring training, so I just wasn’t able to get the repetitions that a starting pitcher needs,” he said. “I really feel like in the last month, the last two months, it’s starting to click and I’m starting to — and you’ll see — I’ve started to feel the baseball again and make it do the things that I’ve always been able to make it do, make it move a little bit, more one way or the other, and…