Yankees made strange relief pitcher demotion right before loss to Baltimore

jp sears, yankees

The New York Yankees fell 5–0 to the Baltimore Orioles in the final game of a three-game series on Sunday afternoon. However, before the game began, field manager Aaron Boone made a roster change, sending young relief pitcher JP Sears down to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, elevating outfielder Tim Locastro to get to start in left.

Locastro, who offers phenomenal speed in the outfield and on the base paths, made an astounding catch late in the game to save a run. Locastro spent last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Yankees, hitting a collective .180 with two homers and seven RBIs. Back in 2020, Locastro posted his best season, hitting .290 over 33 games.

However, giving Joey Gallo a rest day seems to be the reason behind the shift, despite Boone calling upon the big slugger to help get the Yankees on the board late in the game. Gallo, unfortunately, was unable to get anything done, lining out to shortstop against the shift.

The corresponding move for Locastro’s call-up was JP Sears, who enjoyed his first major league action last week. Sears has just two innings of action under his belt, featuring against the Toronto Blue Jays last week and Orioles on Saturday, giving up two hits and one walk, but escaping without giving up a run. Sears picked up his first win of the season and career, representing an exciting mark.

At just 26 years old, Sears will undoubtedly get elevated to the active roster once again since the Yankees have been dipping into their bullpen frequently this season with their starters unable to go further than five innings on average. In Triple-A last year, Sears posted a 2.87 ERA, 10.97 strikeouts per nine, and a solid 41.5% ground ball percentage.

The hope is that Sears can offer the Yankees another great lefty arm in the bullpen. They could’ve used him against Rougned Odor, who hit a two-run single and the eighth inning to break a 0–0 tie. Boone’s decision-making this season has been a bit spotty and inconsistent, which has been one of his biggest knocks over the past few years.

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