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Yankees’ Visit to Washington Was Brief, but Not Without Benefits

Yankees’ Visit to Washington Was Brief, but Not Without Benefits


WASHINGTON — The Yankees packed their belongings and headed to the airport on Wednesday for a flight to Kansas City, Mo., having played only five and a half innings over the last three days. But their visit here might not have been completely fruitless.

There were from some ancillary benefits from the rain that caused the suspension of Tuesday’s game in the sixth inning and washed out the resumption of that game and the start of another on Wednesday.

It allowed the Yankees to reset their bullpen and gave shortstop Didi Gregorius — mired in a 1-for-41 funk — a few days to clear his head. It gave the team a chance to return here when the Washington Nationals, winners of 13 of their last 15 games, might not be so hot.

And it also prevented the Yankees from facing, for now, one of the most formidable pitchers in baseball: right-hander Max Scherzer, who was scheduled to pitch Wednesday night.

“You always like facing the best,” Manager Aaron Boone deadpanned. “Especially when I don’t have to hit.”

Instead, the Yankees, whose 28-12 record remains the best in baseball, will continue their trip with a series that begins Friday against the Royals, who have lost five in a row and whose 13-30 record is the second worst in baseball. Then the Yankees will move on to three games against the Texas Rangers, who are in last place in the American League West.

The Yankees will then return home and have a day off on May 24.

That day of rest and the light schedule this week will have to gird them for a rigorous month, when they play 33 games in 34 days, with two off-days replaced by a doubleheader in Detroit on June 4, and the completion of two games against the Nationals here two weeks later, on June 18.

It is a portion of the price the Yankees are paying for an unusually wet and wintry start to the season. Their home opener was snowed out, and two games in Detroit were rained out, along with one and a third games here. And the Yankees spent much of the season’s first several weeks playing in temperatures in the 40s.

The rainouts here will force the Yankees to return to Washington while they are in the middle of a homestand. They will finish a series with the Tampa Bay Rays on June 17, travel to Washington to finish the suspended game and play the other, then go back to New York to host the Seattle Mariners on June 19.

Earlier in June, they will play four games in three cities over three days: Baltimore, Detroit and Toronto.

“The expectation is that we’ll handle it well and get to know each other even better,” Boone said.

There were two Yankees who felt especially good as they gathered to leave. One was Clint Frazier, who was called up because the Yankees wanted an extra position player for games in the National League park, where the need for a pinch-hitter would be more acute.

Though Frazier did not play, he was elated to know that he was not going to be sent back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and would most likely be in the lineup Saturday against the left-hander Danny Duffy and perhaps again on Sunday against another lefty, Eric Skoglund.

“It’s a big weight off my shoulders knowing I get to sleep on that team flight right now,” said Frazier, whose slim chance of making the team out of spring training was scuttled by a concussion. “I just want to get an opportunity. I didn’t want to go back down without at least getting one at-bat to try to at least push for a spot.”

Giancarlo Stanton left here with a memento: his 1,000th career hit, which came Tuesday night on a pop fly that landed out of the reach of three Nationals in shallow right field. The ball was retrieved for Stanton, who plans to offer it to his father.

That it was not a screaming liner did not matter.

“Did you see my first hit ever?” Stanton said, referring to a slow bouncer over the mound that he beat out in his first big-league at-bat in 2010. “I think it might have been hit harder than that one. I’m fine with it.”



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