Sunday, September 24

Former Yankee Gio Urshela was ‘confused’ by trade to Twins

MINNEAPOLIS — Gio Urshela tried. The former Yankees third baseman got the urge like everyone that gets traded away. He tried to grow a beard.

“I couldn’t do it, too hard,” Urshela said with a laugh. “It was taking too long.”

Urshela said he was initially “confused” when told of the deal that sent him and Gary Sanchez to the Twins for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Josh Donaldson and Ben Rortvedt on March 13.

“That day they said I was going to play shortstop,” Urshela said with a laugh before the series opener at Target Field between the Yankees and Twins, “and the next day I had a new team.”

Urshela has been through it before, unlike Sanchez, but they both pretty much have “turned the page,” on the Yankees chapter of their career. Still, they were looking forward to the chance of seeing their former teammates.

“It’s gonna be fun playing against my old teammates. A lot of memories of good times, the past three years,” Urshela said “I mean, every year I play there it’s going through my mind, I spend a lot of time there. My best year in my career was with the Yankees. so it’s gonna be fun.”

Urshela and Sanchez have landed in a good spot. The Twins lead the American League Central and look like a playoff team. Urshela said he would enjoy facing his old team again in October.

“Yeah, that would be fun,” Urshela said.

One Yankee who had circled this date was Aaron Boone. The Yankees manager was very eager to see his former players from him.

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“I haven’t seen either of them yet. So I’m hoping to bump into them just to say hi. I love both of those guys,” Boone said. “Certainly happy they’re doing well.”

With Giancarlo Stanton out for the last two weeks, the Yankees adjusted their outfield to have Joey Gallo play right field, Aaron Judge at center and Aaron Hicks in right field. It’s an alignment they are still using now that Stanton is back as the designated hitter.

Boone said the outfield has become more flexible and that’s something that has helped them over the last few weeks.

“Obviously I’ve been more and more comfortable with playing Judge in center. So it’s just kind of transitioned a little bit that way, partly because of how the roster has ebbed and flowed a little bit over the last few weeks,” Boone said. “But I’m still comfortable going a lot of different ways and whether that means Joey in left, sliding Hicks back over in center and moving Judge to right which I’ll still do some. The season and roster construction and injury that pops up or a need pops up kind of dictates that sometimes.”

Stanton was the DH Tuesday night, but is expected to play in the outfield during this three game series.

“Probably tomorrow or possibly the next day or we’ll kind of kind of get through today,” Boone said. “He’s going to do a lot of work out there in the outfield today, I know. And then we’ll get through the game tonight and kind of decide.”

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Boone has plans after Tuesday night’s game. His good friend of him — and Yankees former third base coach — Phil Nevin was named the Angels’ interim manager Tuesday.

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“I had a missed call. During our staff meeting, then he texted ‘call me ASAP,’ so I called him when I got out of that meeting a couple hours ago. Yes, emotional. Really excited for him,” Boone said. “I think he’ll do great as a manager. …. I think he’s such a great baseball guy. He’s certainly paid his dues from him. He’s probably been close to landing a job a few different times where he’s probably been that runner up. But he’s poured a lot into this game and I’m happy for him to get an opportunity. And I’ll probably be watching his game from him tonight when we get back to the hotel.

“Watching the second half (of the Angels game),” Boone said. “I know he’s really excited.”

Jonathan Loaisiga, who is on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation, did not throw Monday as expected.

“He is in Nicaragua. He had a family situation that he had to attend to,” Boone said. “So there’s a chance he could throw there today or tomorrow.”

Loaisiga went on the IL May 25 and was shut down from throwing for at least 10 days.

Aroldis Chapman was throwing on flat ground back in New York on Tuesday and with the injury there is “Nothing that’s holding him back at this point.”

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“He’ll probably throw a bullpen when we get back. So I would guess, hopefully maybe that Friday or Saturday he’s throwing in the bullpen,” Boone said. “We’ll see where we’re at.”

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