MLB

Yankees-Blue Jays Preview

The New York Yankees' lineup wasn't quite as dynamic with Brian McCann missing and it's not quite clear when they'll get their hot-hitting catcher back at the plate.

The Yankees did receive some good news on McCann's big toe and that could mean his return in Thursday night's series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays.

New York (4-3) scored its second-fewest runs in the early season with McCann nursing his ailing left digit, losing 7-2 on Wednesday. Toronto (4-5) broke open a competitive game with four runs off Ivan Nova in the eighth inning, and Jose Bautista's doubled home his 800th RBI.

"You play these teams in your division and you need to beat them," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "That was an important game for us."

Austin Romine was 1 for 4 in McCann's place, and the Yankees were 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position, putting them 2 for 17 in those situations in their first two games in Toronto.

"I thought we hit some balls pretty hard in some key situations, but they were at people," manager Joe Girardi said. "We had some opportunities to get the lead, but we weren't able to do it."

A fluoroscope showed that McCann's toe wasn't broken after it was hit by a foul tip in a 3-2 victory Tuesday. He stayed in that game until the final inning and hit a tying home run in the sixth.

McCann is 9 for 18 with two homers while hitting safely in each of his first five games and has two hits in each of the past four.

"I had him to pinch hit if I needed him," Girardi said. "I sure hope (he's back Thursday)."

The Yankees could perhaps be slightly tempted to keep him out of the lineup for another day as he's 2 for 13 lifetime against Marcus Stroman (1-0, 5.40 ERA). The Blue Jays right-hander couldn't build on his opening day win against Tampa Bay on April 3, giving up five runs in 5 1-3 innings in an 8-7 loss to Boston on Friday.

Stroman is 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his last four starts against the Yankees and went 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA last season. He made his return from a torn left ACL suffered in spring training with a 10-7 victory at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 12 and has won six consecutive decisions dating back to September 2014.

Nathan Eovaldi (0-0, 9.00) also avoided a loss in his latest start and his season debut, an 8-5 victory against Houston last Thursday. The right-hander yielded five runs in five innings in that game but gave up one in 6 1-3 innings in his only start against Toronto, a 2-1 loss in 10 innings Aug. 7.

Josh Donaldson is 1 for 6 lifetime against Eovaldi, but the lone hit was a home run. Justin Smoak is 0 for 6, and Bautista, who has reached base safely in every game, is 0 for 2.

Jacoby Ellsbury has also struggled against Stroman, going 0 for 11. Brett Gardner is 3 for 13, but two of those hits were home runs.

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