Yankees lose closer Andrew Miller to forearm injury
NEW YORK (AP) The New York Yankees' dominant bullpen took a big hit when the team announced closer Andrew Miller has a left forearm strain and will be placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Manager Joe Girardi revealed the injury Wednesday after a 5-4, 11-inning loss to the Washington Nationals, which ended a seven-game winning streak.
Miller told the Yankees about the injury Tuesday night but said he was feeling it for some time. He had an MRI Wednesday, which showed a slight strain in his flexor mass muscle.
Girardi said Miller will not throw for 10 days to two weeks.
''I think it was one of those things that was building,'' Miller said. ''It hasn't been recovering quite like I wanted it to, so it's frustrating more than anything for me.''
Dellin Betances will move into the ninth-inning role.
''You think about moving everyone back an inning in a sense, maybe mix and match a little more if you can,'' Girardi said.
Miller is perfect in 17 chances in his first season with the Yankees and has combined with Betances to form one of the most successful back-end duos in baseball.
Entering Wednesday, the Yankees were 28-1 leading after seven innings and 32-0 after eight. Betances has allowed just one earned run in 32 1-3 innings this season and Miller has yielded three earned runs in 26 1-3 innings.
''Joe said I'm the closer for now,'' Betances said. ''Everyone has to look forward to the challenge and try to get the job done.''
Betances and left-hander Chasen Shreve weren't available for the afternoon game after pitching in Tuesday night's win.
''These guys had been used a lot so we just felt they we couldn't use them today,'' Girardi said.
Instead, Girardi made the unusual move in the eighth by going to 22-year-old left-hander Jacob Lindgren to face lefty swinging home run leader Bryce Harper. He got the Nationals star to fly out.
Girardi then kept the rookie in the game to face two right-handers. The second, Michael Taylor, hit a tying two-run homer.
''He made a mistake. He left the ball up and out over the plate,'' Girardi said. ''That's not where he was trying to throw it but that happens, too.''
Following the game, the Yankees optioned infielder Jose Pirela to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Denard Span, nursing a sore back, delivered the winning hit in the 11th, a chopper to second base off Chris Capuano (0-4).
''We need a win and we're ready to get on an airplane. So I just dug deep and tried to get to first,'' Span said.
Tyler Moore led off the 11th with a single and advanced on Jose Lobaton's sacrifice and Danny Espinosa's tapper back to the mound. Span then hit a high chopper up the middle. Second baseman Stephen Drew fielded the ball as he crossed second base but Span beat the one-hop throw for his third hit.
Blake Treinen (2-2) pitched two scoreless innings for the win, and Drew Storen was perfect in the 11th for his 19th save, tying St. Louis' Trevor Rosenthal for the NL lead.
Alex Rodriguez had a tiebreaking double to end a 0-for-11 drought in a four-run seventh that put New York up 4-2. Brendan Ryan, who came off the 60-day disabled list, had a one-out RBI triple to chase Gio Gonzalez after 6 1-3 sharp innings.
Brett Gardner's RBI double off Felipe Rivero tied the score 2-all, and Rodriguez and Brian McCann had run-scoring hits off Aaron Barrett. McCann's single bounced off second base and over a perfectly positioned fielder.
Nathan Eovaldi, remained winless in interleague play - he's 0-4 in 12 career starts. He yielded three runs and eight hits in seven-plus innings.
Yankees: RHP Ivan Nova (Tommy John surgery) was at Yankee Stadium before the game to throw a bullpen. He'll next make a rehab start for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday. Girardi said Nova should be able to throw 85-90 pitches. ... CF Jacoby Ellsbury (sprained knee) will make the road trip with New York then remain in Florida after the two-game series in Miami that ends Tuesday. Girardi said Ellsbury, on DL since May 20 will not play in rehab games ''right away.''
Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (2-2) faces the Brewers in Milwaukee and Matt Garza (4-7). Roark is 2-0 with a 3.78 ERA since moving back into the rotation. He was 15-10 as a starter last year.
Yankees: After an off day, the Yankees open a three-game series at Baltimore. RHP Michael Pineda (7-2) is set to start after his last turn in the rotation was skipped in order to manage his innings this year.