Yankees moving Luis Gil to bullpen in change of rehab plans

OAKLAND, Calif. — Right-hander Luis Gil had been scheduled to start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday, but the team altered that plan. Gil now will pitch out of the bullpen — although he’ll throw a starter’s allotment of pitches, according to Yankees manager Aaron Boone.

“He’ll pitch like a starter,’’ Boone said after the Yankees lost to the Athletics, 3-2, on Saturday. “We just want to see what it’s like to pitch out of the pen.”

The 23-year-old Gil didn’t allow a run over 15 ²/₃ innings in three starts with the Yankees, but he was skipped after last Sunday’s rainout in The Bronx and sent back to Triple-A. Now, with Corey Kluber due to rejoin the rotation Monday in Anaheim — bumping Andrew Heaney — there’s no room for Gil on the big club.

Kluber will join Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Jordan Montgomery and Nestor Cortes Jr. in the rotation, but the Yankees may go with a sixth starter during an upcoming stretch of 20 days without a day off.

And there’s no guarantee the current members of the rotation will stay healthy.

Luis Gil
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Gio Urshela said he still felt good after his first two games back from a stint on the injured list caused by a strained left hamstring.

But Urshela was held out of the lineup Saturday, part of the plan, Boone said, to build up the third baseman gradually.

Urshela entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Andrew Velazquez in the top of the eighth and grounded out. He stayed in the game at shortstop.

Rougned Odor started at third base against Oakland right-hander Frankie Montas, with Tyler Wade remaining on the bench. Boone said he liked Wade’s defensive versatility, as well as his speed, in a reserve role.

Urshela said he would be able to play every day soon and was just working on getting his timing back at the plate.

“My body feels good,’’ said Urshela, who sat out 23 games with the hamstring injury after suffering a setback in his rehab. “I’m not limited. I’m 100 percent.”

Gio Urshela
Gio Urshela

Shortstop Gleyber Torres will take another step in his comeback from a strained left thumb when he begins a scheduled rehab assignment Sunday with Double-A Somerset.

Velazquez has filled in well for Torres, serving as an upgrade with his glove and providing some timely hitting.

Anthony Rizzo’s offense has slipped since his return from the COVID-19 IL. In eight games, he’s just 5-for-31 with a double, four RBIs two walks and eight strikeouts. Rizzo was 1-for-4 with a run scored Saturday.

“It’s just a grind,’’ Rizzo said of his current form at the plate. “The swing comes and goes. Just try to get it in the right slot. It’s part of the process.”

And he doesn’t believe his slump is connected to any COVID-19 aftereffects.

“I don’t think so,’’ Rizzo said. “I think I’m as good as I’m gonna be.”

Which is why he doesn’t intend to alter his routine. And the fact Aaron Judge, as well as Giancarlo Stanton, have hit well, keeps some pressure off Rizzo.

“I can just try to get on base,’’ Rizzo said.

Boone remained at 312 wins as Yankees manager, one shy of Buck Showalter’s total with the team.

“I love Buck,’’ Boone said. “That guy’s done a lot in this game, in this chair and this was only one of his stops.”

Aaron Judge homered and doubled and has multiple hits in a career-best five games.

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