NEW YORK — The New York Mets will host the crosstown Yankees on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 next season, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.
The clubs will play at Citi Field in a game sure to be full of emotions for the city that’s also reported over 18,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths this year. The person spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because Major League Baseball has not yet released next season’s schedule.
“I can’t imagine how powerful and how emotional of an event that could be,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
The decision was first reported by Newsday.
The 20th anniversary game will be played not far from the site of demolished Shea Stadium, where Hall of Famer Mike Piazza hit a memorable home run for the Mets against the Braves on Sept. 21, 2001 in the first major sporting event in the city following the attacks. New York wore hats honoring the city’s first responders for the game.
Mets slugger Pete Alonso is sure to have a hand in the planning.
The 25-year-old reigning NL Rookie of the Year sidestepped MLB rules to create customized cleats for all of his teammates honoring 9/11 victims and first responders for New York’s home game last Sept. 11. Alonso later donated his spikes to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum
The Yankees and Mets won’t have to wait that long to see each other. The teams announced Tuesday they will play preseason exhibition games July 18 at Citi Field and July 19 at Yankee Stadium as they prepare for the start of a pandemic-shortened 60-game regular season.
The Yankees will start the season against the World Series champion Nationals in Washington on July 23 — the first game of the year for any team. The Dodgers and Giants will play later that night, and the rest of the league will open the next day.
The Philadelphia Phillies will travel to the Bronx for an exhibition game July 20. It’ll be a homecoming of sorts for former Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who was hired as Phillies manager over the offseason.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
New York Yankees’ Tommy Kahnle likely to have Tommy John surgery
“He’s probably headed for surgery,” Boone said. “Your heart goes out to Tommy, knowing it’s a significant injury that has to get taken care of right now.”
Kahnle underwent an MRI that revealed a a right ulnar collateral injury. The right-hander first felt right forearm tightness during the Yankees’ impromptu workout Tuesday night at Camden Yards in Baltimore, following the postponement of their scheduled games against the Phillies in Philadelphia.
Kahnle, who turns 31 on Aug. 7, had an important role in the Yankees’ bullpen, having thrown 61⅓ innings in 2019 with a 3.67 ERA and an average of 12.9 strikeouts for every 9 innings.
“It’s a big loss,” said outfielder Aaron Judge, who hit a two-run homer Friday in the Yankees’ 5-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox in their rescheduled home opener. “During a game like this, when it’s 3-1, you have that back end of our bullpen of Greeny [Chad Green], Tommy, Otto [Adam Ottavino] and then [Zack] Britton, that’s tough to get by. Kind of missing a big piece like Tommy Kahnle is going to be tough for us.”
Kahnle had pitched one scoreless inning this season, striking out three Washington Nationals batters in the eighth inning on Sunday.
“We’re going to have to pick up the slack,” Boone added. “Tommy is an elite reliever in the league; some guys are going to have to step up and pick up some important outs along the way.”
Mets’ Luis Rojas not saying if Edwin Diaz has lost closer’s role
Rojas won’t say if the next outing for Diaz will come in a save situation.
Diaz’s role as the Mets’ closer again is being watched closely for the second straight season after the right-hander walked two batters, hit a batter and gave up a run while recording only one out in Thursday night’s 4-2 loss to Boston.
“It was a little bit surprising, just kind of how the outing went,” Diaz said through a translator before Friday night’s game at the Atlanta Braves. “It had been five days since I last threw, so I felt like I didn’t have my mechanics in order.”
Diaz said he was “trying to overpower my pitches too much.”
Diaz said he told Rojas he would like to be used more frequently — no matter when he enters the game.
“I’m open to pitching whenever,” Diaz said. “That doesn’t matter to me. It’s just one of those things where I would like to pitch more frequently, as opposed to having those long layoffs.”
Rojas said he had “a healthy conversation” with Diaz about the goal “to get him back on track when we get the chance.”
Rojas said “the stuff is there, obviously,” but he was worried about the emotions and lack of control Diaz showed against the Red Sox.
“We didn’t talk about a specific role moving forward but we talked about looking forward to getting him back in there as soon as we can,” Rojas said.
“Diaz is part of the depth that we have for pitchers that have experience closing games,” Rojas said. “For us, we always talk about how much of a luxury that is.”
Diaz has one save in two chances this season after losing the closer’s role in 2019, when he had a 5.59 ERA. He had 57 saves and a 1.93 ERA with Seattle in 2018.
Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw to make season debut Sunday
Kershaw was scratched just four hours before he was set to throw the first pitch of the Dodgers’ season because of back stiffness.
Kershaw’s back originally stiffened up while he went about his normal routine in the weight room in the days leading up to the Dodgers’ opener, but an MRI later that day came back clean. He received treatment over the next couple of days but couldn’t get his back loose enough to make his first start.
Walker Buehler will get the start on Monday against the Padres.
Kershaw will be a welcome addition to the Dodgers’ rotation, which lost starter Alex Wood to the injured list because of shoulder inflammation earlier this week.
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