With the Yankees scheduled to start Domingo German on Friday night, J.A. Happ on Saturday and All-Star Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday against the brutal Blue Jays to open a 10-game homestand, that means CC Sabathia and James Paxton will draw the first two games against the Rays on Monday and Tuesday.
It is the way the Yankees went for the five games leading into the All-Star break.
The Rays, second in the AL East and 6 ½ games out entering Friday night’s action, are in The Bronx for four games beginning Monday night. They are followed by the Rockies for three interleague games.
How much those five names remain intact is up to what is available on the trade market and how much Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner want to sacrifice.
Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman, who starts Sunday, and Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner have drawn interest from the Yankees who many believe need to upgrade the rotation in order to compete in October. Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer has been mentioned, but the Tribe is playing better lately (7-3; six straight wins) and within striking distance (5 ¹/₂ games out) of the AL-Central leading Twins. They lead the race for the second AL wild-card spot.
Acquiring a starter could also strengthen the bullpen since German, the staff leader in wins with 10, could shift to relief. Since the Yankees would like to limit the 26-year-old right-hander’s innings (he has 76 ¹/₃ this year), the move makes sense should another starter join the rotation. It would also strengthen a bullpen that has been without Dellin Betances all year, but is a big part of why the Yankees open action Friday night first in the AL East.
The belief inside the Yankees’ organization is that former staff ace Luis Severino will make it back at some point this year. However, he hasn’t pitched in a big-league game this season due to shoulder/lat problems.
Prior to spring training, it was easy to believe Mike King would make the big leagues at some point. After all, the 24-year-old went 11-5 with a 1.79 ERA and held hitters to a .202 batting average while moving from Single-A Tampa, Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year.
However, a stress reaction in his right elbow put the righty on the shelf early in spring training and a setback in the rehab process kept him away from game action until Thursday, when he pitched for the Yankees’ GCL team in Lakeland.
King threw one inning and struck out one.
“It’s definitely in the back of my mind,” King told The Post’s Dan Martin last year of reaching the majors in 2019. “I’m going to go into spring training and try to prove myself.’’
King, a Boston College product, was acquired from the Marlins following the 2017 season with international signing bonus pool money for infielder Garrett Cooper and pitcher Caleb Smith.