New York Yankee Player Profiles: Luis Cessa, is this his year to shine?

The New York Yankees Luis Cessa is a seldom talked about Yankee pitcher, but his relief is indispensable when the starting pitcher fails to perform. Over the last six years, he has been the Yankees’ go-to middle reliever. This season he is turning some heads. In four games, he has an ERA of .000 and is striking out 15.4 hitters per nine innings pitched. That is nearly double his best performance in 2019.

Before the beginning of spring training, he signed a one-year deal with the New York Yankees to pay him just over a million dollars this season. He will be a free agent in 2024. For those that don’t know much about the multi-lingual reliever, here is a look at his life and how he got to the Yankees.

Luis Cessa was born Luis Enrique Cessa and was born on April 25, 1992, in Cordoba, Veracruz, Mexico. He is an American citizen and speaks English as his second language.

Cessa, in his native Cordoba, played baseball as a boy in the sandlots around his neighborhood.  He continued to play ball for his high school team. He played at shortstop but transitioned to pitching in his high school years, where he was often the best pitcher on the team. Cessa was scouted and agreed on a contract with the New York Mets as an international free agent in July 2008. In 2009, He made his professional debut with the Dominican Summer League Mets, where he again played as a shortstop for the first two seasons, transitioning into a pitcher in 2011.

In the summer of 2015, Cessa was traded to the Detroit Tigers.  He was added to the Tigers 40 man roster after the 2015 season.  But in the offseason, he was traded to the New York Yankees along with pitcher Chad Green. In 2016, Cessa was named to the Yankees’ Opening Day roster in 2016. On April 8, 2016, he made his debut for the Yankees against his former Detroit Tigers.

Cessa spent the majority of 2016 at the minor league affiliate Scranton Wilkes/Barre Rail Raiders.  But on June 26, the Yankees called Cessa up from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and on June 29, He had his first major league win, pitching three innings of 1-run relief.

In 2017 while bouncing back and forth from the Rail Riders to the Yankees, he played in 10 games in middle relief.  In 2018 that increased to 18 games.  Although not the best pitcher, Cessa was making a name for himself as a New York Yankee middle reliever.  He spent 2019 at the Stadium.  He was mostly used as a middle reliever in 43 games, although he did save one game.  In one of his wins last year, he struck out seven in three and two-thirds innings.

During the 2019 ALDS against the Minnesota Twins and in the ALCS against the Houston Astros, the 28-year-old Cessa pitched four scoreless innings in relief. This year with the Yankees watching the starting pitcher innings adjust to a 162 game season, middle relief will be an integral part of the Yankee plan.

Cessa is not only a reliable pitcher to eat up innings when the starter fails to perform but has regularly been used when there is an opener instead of a starter.  The combination of Chad Green and Cessa had been beneficial to the New York Yankees in those games.

Luis Cessa has a warm personality that has caused him to be well accepted by all the Yankee players, and he is considered a valuable teammate in the bullpen. The affable Cessa has a main squeeze in Nancy Arreola, a media personality for TV Azteca in Mexico.  They have been going together for several years, and their bond is strong.  She even has a photo of them together as the header on her Twitter page.

New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from “Monty’s” win over the O’s

New York Yankees, Jordan Montgomery

The word of the day is shutout. Last night the New York Yankees shut out the Baltimore Orioles 7-0. Starter Jordan Montgomery was brilliant, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton were powerful, and the New York Yankees went 3 for 6 with men in scoring position. Although everyone didn’t take part in the party, the Yankee bats came to life.

Jordan Montgomery has the best start of the season

Last night against the Baltimore Orioles, Jordan Montgomery was totally dominant. He had command of all of his pitches and put down Oriole after Oriole. He went six innings striking out seven O’s, without issuing a walk. And, of course, he did not allow an Oriole run. In tandem, Luis Cessa replaced him in the seventh inning and continued where Montgomery left off pitching two clean innings while striking out 3. To complete the excellent night, Aroldis Chapman closed out the ninth inning striking out three.

It probably shouldn’t be a surprise that Montgomery pitched so well; in his 3 spring training starts, he had a tiny ERA of 0.90 across 10 innings of work. Last year Monty didn’t have the best of seasons, going 2-3 with an ERA of 5.11 but rebound nicely in the postseason with an ERA of 2.25. His career average ERA is 4.14. “Monty” is very positive this year, two years out from his Tommy John surgery, and is poised to become an important part of the rotation, if last night’s performance is any indication he seems headed for success.

471′ Grand Slam for Giancarlo Stanton

Few baseball players hit the ball as hard as Giancarlo Stanton. Last night against the Baltimore Orioles, he showed off with the New York Yankees’ first Grand Slam of the young season. The night started with Aaron Judge hitting a cheap 340′ home run off Jorge Lopez, just over the short right-field wall. But with the bases loaded in the fifth inning and with two outs, Giancarlo Stanton walked up to the plate and slammed a homer 471′ far into the stands for the Yankees 6-0 lead.

It was reported by Michael Kay of the YES Network that the homer was off a pitch that was thrown at 92 mph by Orioles pitcher Shawn Armstrong but exited Stanton’s bat at 115.1 mph. After playing in only 18 games during the 2020 regular season, Stanton came alive in the postseason, hitting 6 home runs in just seven postseason games. Last night he had the first of many home runs to come.

Part of the secret to the New York Yankees’ success in 2021 is to keep both Judge and Stanton healthy. If they can stay on the field together, there will be no stopping the Yankees. In games that both Judge and Stanton have hit home runs, the Yankees have a record of 8-0.

The Yankees hit with men in scoring position

Yesterday I wrote an article critical of the Yankee’s ability to hit the ball. Over the last 12 games of spring training, the Yankees scored only 3.1 runs per game. In the first 3 games of the new season, they scored just 2.1 runs per game. Anyone that knows anything about baseball knows that thy kind of run production doesn’t win games.

I pointed out that this was not a new problem for the Yankees, pointing out that it happened for periods last season and in past postseasons when the championship was on the line. Last night the Yankees showed what they could do hitting, and hitting with men in scoring position. Now they have to find a way to be consistent with their hitting.

The Yankee ace Gerrit Cole will face the Baltimore Oriole’s Dean Kremer in a 6:35 pm game at Yankee Stadium tonight. Cole in his first start struck out 8 in a no-decision game. Tonight he will get his chance to get his first win of the season, hopefully, the Yankee bats will cooperate. The game will be broadcast in Baltimore and in the New York area on the YES Network.

 

 

New York Yankees Recap: Jordan Montgomery shined, Stanton Grand Slams in Yankees win over the O’s

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

The New York Yankees met the Baltimore Orioles tonight in the first game of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees were 1-2 on the young season, and the Orioles were 3-0. Jordan Mongomery made his regular-season debut for the Yankees, and Jorge Lopez was on the mound for the O’s.

Cedric Mullins led off against Montgomery; he flew out to left. Mancini flew out to Gleyber Torres. Ryan Mountcastle flew out to left for an easy inning for “Monty.” At the bottom of the first, DJ LeMahieu against Lopez, and he ground out to the second base. Aaron Judge hit sharply up the middle for a single. Aaron Hicks flew out to far left. Giancarlo Stanton struck out swinging to end the inning. No score.

Facing Montgomery in the second inning was Maikal Franco, who ground out to Urshela. Pedro Severino struck out. Pat Valaika ground out to end the half for another easy inning for Montgomery. Gleyber Torres was first up against Lopez in the second; he struck out. Gary Sanchez struck out for Lopez’s third strikeout. Jay Bruce ground out to first. The Yankees went down in order. No score.

Freddie Galvis led off the third inning by lining into center for the O’s first runner of the game. Ramon Urais went down on strikes, and it went seven up and seven down for Monty. Ryan McKenna struck out. Mullins led the majors last year in bunts with 9. Galvis stole second base. Mullins struck out, leaving a guy on base. At the bottom against Lopez, Urshela flew out to right field. Clint Frazier, who was batting .444, lined to second. LeMahieu struck out to end the inning in was what turned out to be a pitching duel. No score.

Trey Mancini led off the fourth inning by striking out for Monty’s 5th strikeout. Mountcastle popped right back to Monty for the second out. Franco had a high popout to Urshela to end the half. Aaron Judge led off the bottom with his first home run of the season. Hicks stuck out. Stanton hit back to Lopez for the second out of the half. Gleyber Torres singled to short. Gary Sanchez stuck out, but the Yankees took the lead with Aaron Judge’s 340′ home run over the right-field wall. Yankees 1 O’s 0.

Severino led off against Monty in the fifth with a base hit. Valaika ground out. At this point in the fifth inning, Monty only had 58 pitches in the game. Galvis flew out to Frazier on the warning track. Urias singled past Judge, and Valaika went to third. With men on the corner and two outs, McKenna ground out to Torres to leave two Orioles on the bases. At the bottom of the fifth, Jay Bruce led off by walking. Gio Urshela had a roller to short; they got the force out at second. Clint Frazier ground out, Urshela to second. LeMahieu walked, with Aaron Judge coming up. Judge with two outs walked to load the bases with Yankees. That walk knocked Lopez out of the game in favor of Shawn Armstong.  Aaron Hicks went full count and then walked, bringing Urshela home for the two-run lead. Giancarlo Stanton got the Yankee’s first grand slam of the season; a 471′ shot putting the Yankees 6 runs up. Torres ended the inning by striking out. New York Yankees 6 O’s 0.

Mullins led off the sixth against Montgomery. He singled. Mancini went down on strikes. Mountcastle struck out, and Franco flew out to Hicks in center. Monty was great through 6 innings. At the bottom, Sanchez faced O’s reliever Fry and ground out to second. Bruce worked his second walk of the night. Urshela singled. With a man on first and second and one out, Frazier singled to load the bases again for the Yankees. LeMahieu singled with an RBI, putting the Yankees up 7 runs. That run knocked Fry out of the game in favor of Mac Sceroler in his major league debut facing Aaron Judge, who went down looking. Aaron Hicks flew out to end the inning, but the Yankees picked up another run. Yankees 7 O’s 0.

After an excellent start, by Montgomery, a shut out over 6 innings for the New York Yankees, Luis Cessa took over the mound for the Yankees in the seventh. Severino went down swinging. Valaika flew out to Judge. Galvis ground out for a perfect inning for Cessa. At the bottom, Giancarlo Stanton led off; he flew out sharply. Torres flew out to right field. Sanchez went down on strikes for his 0 for 4 night. Yankees 7 O’s 0.

At the top of the eighth, Mike Tauchman took over of Frazier in left, and Frazier moved to right field to take over for Aaron Judge. With Cessa out for a second inning, Urias struck out. McKenna walked. Mullins hit into the force out. Mancini stuck out for another good inning for Cessa. Jay Bruce led off the bottom by striking out. Urshela had a long fly out to the center field. Frazier walked. LeMahieu got a wild pitch moving Frazier to second base. DJ walked to put two on base. Mike Tauchman got his first at-bat went down on strikes. Yankees 7 O’s 0.

Aroldis Chapman came out in the ninth inning to close it out for New York Yankees. Mountcastle struck out. Franco struck out, and Severino walked. Valaika struck out to end the game. The final score was 7-0; the winning pitcher was Jordan Montgomery and the loser Jorge Lopez. The Yankees are 8-0 in games that Judge and Stanton both hit home runs. Montgomery allowed no runs walking none while striking out 7 O’s.

 

 

 

New York Yankees Recap: Corey Kluber fails in Yankee loss to the Phillies

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

The New York Yankees were in Clearwater, Florida, today taking on the Philadelphia Phillies. Corey Kluber started for the Yankees and Zack Wheeler for the Phillies. It was 84 degrees and cloudy at game time. The Yankees lost the game 6-2.

Zack Wheeler took to the mound to face DJ LeMahieu. DJ ground out to second. Gleyber Torres walked on eight pitches. Aaron Hicks was called out on strikes. Jay Bruce in for Luke Voit that is having knee surgery, but his at-bat couldn’t be completed at Gleyber Torres was caught stealing second base for the final out of the half. Corey Kluber took the mound at the bottom facing Andrew McCutchen; McCutchen singled to short. Rhys Hoskins flew out, and Bryce Harper struck out, Bohm walked, Gregorious ground out to end the inning.

Jay Bruce led off the top of the second; he doubled to centerfield. Clint Frazier ground out to second, Gary Sanchez struck out. Mike Tauchman struck out on Wheeler’s eight-pitch of the at-bat. Segura faced Kluber at the bottom and walked. Miller struck out, and Herrera struck out swinging. Knapp flew out to Aaron Hicks for the final out of the inning. No score.

Austin Wells led off the third for the Yankees; he was called out on strikes. Wade ground out to Gregorius, and DJ ground out to end the half. At the bottom, McCutchen struck out, Hoskins singled, and Harper walked for two on and no outs. Bohm singled to load the bases. Gregorius was hit by a pitch driving in Hoskins as Kluber lacked control. Segura had a sac fly that scored Harper. Miller walked, reloading the bases, and Kluber was pulled from the game in favor of Brooks Kriske. Herrera ground out, leaving the bases filled with Phillies. Phillies 2 Yankees 0.

Vince Velasquez took over the pitching for the Phillies at the fourth. Gleyber Torres struck out, Aaron Hicks flew out to right, and Bruce struck out as Phillies’ pitching confused the Yankee hitters. The New York Yankees brought Kluber back out at the bottom to build up his pitch count. This was his last game of the spring, and the Yankees would like to see him get up to 80-85 pitches. In a puzzling move, they only allowed him to face two batters, Knapp flew out, and McCutchen stuck out, then replaced him with Nick Nelson. Hoskins struck swinging for the final out.

Frazier led off the fifth; he singled with a line drive to center. Sanchez struck out swinging, Frazier stole second and took third on a Philly throwing error. LaMarre had a sac fly scoring Frazier and getting the Yankees on the board. Austin Wells singled, LeMahieu flew out to end the inning, but the Yankees picked up a run Phillies 2 Yankees 1. Bryce Harper against Nelson ground out to short. Bohm doubled. Gregorius ground out to second. Maton running for Harper moved to third. Segura ground out to strand Maton at third. Phillies 2 Yankees 1.

With David Hale on the mound, Gleyber Torres struck out swinging. Hicks ground out to second. Bruce walked, and Frazier ground out to end the half. Aroldis Chapman took the bottom of the sixth inning. Miller struck out swinging on a 96 mph Chapman fastball. Herrera flew out to left. Knap ground out to short to end the inning. It was a nice bounce-back for Chapman after giving up 3 runs to the Orioles. Phillies 2 Yankees 1.

Archie Bradley started the seventh against Gary Sanchez, who stuck out and was 0-3 for the day. LaMarre singled, and Josh Breaux struck out, and LaMarre was caught stealing to end the half. Luis Cessa was out for the bottom; he stuck out Quinn. Duran singled. Vierling ground into a forceout. Maton doubled Vierling scored. Luis Garcia doubled driving in Maton. Stot singled driving in Garcia. Miller struck out, but the Phillies picked up 3 runs. Phillies 5 Yankees 1.

The top of the eighth saw Tyler Wade leading off for the Yankees; he doubled. Wade went to third on a passed ball. Hoy Jun Park struck out. Armando Alvarez struck out, and Milone struck out, wasting Wade’s double. At the bottom prospect, Luis Medina took over the pitching for the Yankees. Medina ground out Marchan. Rojas ground out, and Quinn walked and stole second. Duran singled driving in Quinn but was called out at second. Phillies 6 Yankees 1.

With last licks on the line for the New York Yankees, Thairo Estrada led off homering to far left-center. Estevan Florial flew out. Max McDowell was called out on strikes and LaMarre struck out ending the game. The final score was Phillies 6 and the Yankees 2. The winning pitcher was Zack Wheeler and the loser Corey Kluber.

Yankees non-tender Jonathan Holder; avoid arbitration with Luis Cessa and Ben Heller

New York Yankees, Jonathan Holder

The New York Yankees reportedly decided to tender a contract to catcher Gary Sanchez prior to tonight’s 8 pm deadline. However, they opted not to retain longtime reliever Jonathan Holder, making him free to sign with any team.

The news was reported by MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. Holder had been with the New York Yankees since he made his big league debut back in 2016. In his career, he has a 4.38 ERA and a 3.85 FIP in 176.2 innings. He has a 8.41 K/9 mark and has handed 2.70 BB/9 so far in his big league tenure.

Holder could make for a nice reclamation project for some other team, as his right arm isn’t short on talent. In 2017 and 2018, he had two straight seasons with an ERA and FIP lower than four.

However, after an inconsistent 2019 that saw him finish with a 6.31 ERA, and a bad 2020 (that actually started off well) in which he had a 4.98 ERA, the Yankees decided to move on from the big righty.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Yankees were planning to tender a contract to Gary Sanchez ahead of the deadline. He is expected to make a little over $5 million in arbitration next season.

Other Yankees’ transactions

In another transaction, the Yankees avoided arbitration with fellow right-handed reliever Luis Cessa after agreeing to a one-year contract worth $1 million.

For Cessa, it was his first year of arbitration eligibility. He has been a full-time reliever for the Yankees in the last few seasons and has gotten better results thanks to an increased usage of his slider.

The Bombers also agreed to a one-year deal with right-handed reliever Ben Heller.

Several useful major leaguers are entering the market as teams are announcing their lists of non-tendered players. The Yankees could turn their attention to some of them, most notably relievers Archie Bradley and Ryne Stanek, or designated hitter/outfielder Kyle Schwarber, among other potentially useful players in various positions.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Four Yankee players could be gone by 8 pm

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

For the New York Yankees and the other 29 MLB teams, they have until 8 pm tonight to tender contracts to players of they become free agents and tentatively out of pinstripes forever. Don’t worry, Clint Frazier, Chad Green, Aaron Judge, Jordan Montgomery, Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela, and Luke Voit aren’t going anywhere. These eight players are too important to the Yankees, and their arbitration salaries are all bargains by major league standards.

However, four Yankees could be gone by tonight. They are Gary Sanchez, Luis Cessa, Ben Heller, and Jonathan Holder. Cessa and Holder will most likely be tendered a contract.

Luis Cessa is often an unrated arm in the bullpen, but nevertheless, Cessa in the last five years with the Yankees has been a workhorse, starting, providing mid relief, and even saving games. The usually reliable Cessa had his best year in 2019, pitching in 47 games and closing out 14 of them with one save. Although his 2020 performance was not up to those figures, he was called to the mound 16 times, closing out 6 of them with one save, while registering his best ERA of 3.32. Cessa will be a keeper.

Jonathan Holder, like Cessa, has also been kicking around for five years and has been mostly solid for the Yankees. Holder was important to the Yankees this past season going 3-0 in 18 games in a 60 game season. Holder is durable and will most likely be tendered.

Ben Heller is another story. Heller is injury prone and hasn’t been much help to the New York Yankees. In his seven years with the Yankees, four in the majors, even though he has one of the lowest career ERA on has 2 wins to he credit. A low ERA doesn’t help much if you can’t stay on the mound. He will likely be non-tendered and be out of pinstripes.

Gary Sanchez is still another story. Whether you believe the possible trade hype from Cashman and Boone recently, or you believed the Yankees’ actions late last season and in the postseason, will determine if Sanchez remains a Yankee. Both manager Boone and Brian Cashman have recently praised Sanchez for his talent and potential to be on the edge of a star player. The question is whether they truly have faith in him or if they were trying to raise his trade value.

Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Last season was Sanchez’s worst season with the Yankees. He hit only .147 and had another season of failing to block the ball. He was so bad that Boone that does not believe in personal catchers allowed Kyle Higasioka to become ace Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher. Near the end of the season took a greater role in catching starts as Sanchez was sat down, even in the postseason. However, I believe that he will be in pinstripes next year, even if it’s only because he is an economical option in a season that the Yankees will be penny-pinching.

 

New York Yankees activate Luis Cessa ahead of Wednesday’s doubleheader

New York Yankees, Luis Cessa

The New York Yankees are losing one of their top relievers in recent times, as right-hander Tommy Kahnle underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday. He will be sidelined until at least late 2021, and chances are that we won’t see him until early 2022. It is truly a bummer, since the man of the wicked changeup had won the hearts of Yankee fans around the country with his performances.

But at the same time, the New York Yankees are also gaining another arm to help them navigate through this weird, shortened season. Luis Cessa, who hadn’t pitched this year after a positive COVID-19 test a few weeks ago, is now ready to go and was activated from the injured list on Wednesday.

The Yankees’ underrated relief arm

The Yankees bullpen corps can surely use an arm like Cessa. While he is not in the same level as Kahnle, he showed last season that he can be very successful if he prioritizes the use of his slider over his other offerings. That strategy paid off as he had his best season in 2019, with a 4.11 ERA in 81.0 frames.

It is unclear in which role Cessa will rejoin the Yankees. Over the years, he has been a spot starter, a long man, a traditional, one-inning reliever, and has even been part of the “Scranton Shuttle.”

Chances are that Cessa will operate as a long reliever in case he is needed, which will actually free up Chad Green to function as the game flow dictates. The Mexican hurler was at his best last season while working multiple innings per game (he completed his 81.0 innings in 43 games.)

Cessa will be available for the Yankees today, as they face a tough doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies. The team has the best record in the major leagues and despite losing one of its top relievers will try to keep it that way. Cessa can certainly help.

New York Yankees: Luis Cessa is impressed with Clint Frazier, saying he looks “stronger” and “ready”

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

Clint Frazier, despite being demoted to the New York Yankees‘ alternate training site a few days ago, has handled the decision with aplomb and maturity. According to his own teammates, he has been working diligently to return to the active roster when his moment comes, and he has looked very good at the plate.

As Randy Miller of NJ.com writes, Frazier has even impressed Yankees coaches with his attitude during spring training and summer camp.

Fellow New York Yankees’ rehabber Luis Cessa said that nothing has changed on that front. Frazier remains focused and looks ready to contrinbute consistently at the major league level.

Frazier started off the year with the Yankees, but he was demoted when the team found itself in need of fresh arms to the pitching staff.

The Yankees reliever faced Frazier and said he deserves a shot

Cessa faced Frazier in three recent outings at the Yankees’ alternate training site and was impressed with what he saw.

“He looks good,” Cessa said of the talented Frazier, who has had quite a few controversies in his Yankees’ tenure since coming in the Andrew Miller trade. “He looks stronger. He looks ready.”

The red-headed outfielder has 16 homers and 56 RBI in 393 career at-bats. While he has struggled defensively, he has loads of promise with the stick. He just needs playing time.

In the Yankees’ big league team, Frazier is blocked by at least five players: Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner, plus reserves Mike Tauchman and Miguel Andujar. But he showed during the exhibition games (both in the spring and in the summer) that he is ready to be challenged consistently at the majors, having hit .321 with two homers, four RBI, eight walks and a .459 on-base percentage during 14 games.

“Everybody is waiting for the opportunity to come back and I think Clint looks good,” Cessa said.

New York Yankees: Luis Cessa is close to game-ready and could return this week

The New York Yankees suffered a recent loss to their bullpen corps: Tommy Kahnle, one of the best and most reliable relievers on the team, will be sidelined for a long time following an elbow injury. That’s unfortunate, no doubt about it, but if there is a team in the major leagues that can absorb the blow of a reliever getting hurt, that team is the Yankees.

Lately, right-hander reliever Nick Nelson stole the show. In addition, the Yankees are getting good news on the injured Luis Cessa. The versatile Mexican is very close to being game-ready after missing the first week and a half of the season with a positive COVID-19 test.

According to Meredith Marakovits, Cessa is still at the New York Yankees’ alternative site in Scranton.  He threw a 40 pitch simulated game two days ago, and could be available to help the Bombers as soon as tomorrow.

Cessa is waiting to hear from the Yankees

Marakovits explained that Cessa told her he’s just “waiting to hear word from Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman.” She reports that he sounded unsure when he might rejoin the team, but it should be fairly soon.

While the Yankees will surely miss Kahnle for whatever long he’s absent, they can cope with the weapons they have at their disposal, but in the active roster and in the alternate training site. In addition, closer Aroldis Chapman is about to return to action, which will likely result in Zack Britton returning to his old setup role.

As far as Cessa concerns, he will try to replicate last season’s success upon his return. He wasn’t the most consistent of relievers, but he pitched 81.0 solid innings of a 4.11 ERA (4.87 FIP) with 8.33 K/9.

The key for Cessa was increasing the usage of his effective slider, to the point in which he throws it more often than the fastball. The Yankees liked the results, and the pattern will surely continue going forward.

New York Yankees place DJ LeMahieu and Luis Cessa on the 10-day injured list with COVID-19

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

The New York Yankees have two known major league players who tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days. Infielder DJ LeMahieu and right-handed reliever Luis Cessa were both placed on the 10-day injured list by the Bombers on Wednesday.

LeMahieu, who led the New York Yankees in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) with 5.4 fWAR (Fangraphs’ version) is said to have no symptoms of the disease. It is not clear, as of now, when he will be allowed to return to the active team and join the team summer camp.

The 31-year old star slashed .327/.375/.518 last season with a .375 wOBA and 136 wRC+. He hit a career-high 26 home runs in his finest offensive season yet. LeMahieu is in the last year of the two-year, $24 million pact he signed before the 2019 season.

The Yankees’ Cessa also on the shelf

The Yankees also placed hurler Luis Cessa on the 10-day injured list. The reliever was also recently diagnosed with coronavirus and had some mild symptoms for a few days, but he said on Tuesday that he is already recovered from the disease.

Like it is happening with LeMahieu, it is unclear when the 28-year old righty will be allowed to report to training camp.

Cessa pitched 81.0 innings in 2019, with a 4.11 ERA and a 4.87 FIP. He had a bit of a home run issue, conceding 1.56 long balls per each nine innings, but was a valuable reliever in a variety of roles for Yankees manager Aaron Boone.

The Yankees need both men to succeed in the 2020 shortened season, especially LeMahieu, because the dropoff in expected performance between LeMahieu and his potential replacements is considerable.

The 2020 season, for the New York Yankees, will start on July 23 against the Washington Nationals in the nation’s capital, so both men still have a handful of days to show they left the virus behind and return to the club.