By George A. King III
The Yankees continue to track Reds pitcher Mike Leake. After having scout Jeff Datz watch Leake pitch last week the Yankees sent scout Brandon Duckworth into Cincinnati Friday night to see the right-hander face the Marlins.
Leake sure put on a show by tossing seven scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out seven in a 5-0 Reds victory. Leake, 27, is eligible for free agency at the end of the season. In 14 games, he is 4-4 with a 4.35 ERA.
With Ivan Nova due off the disabled list — possibly as soon as next week — it would appear the Yankees have a surplus of starters, but other teams believe they are in the market for a starter.
Nova, coming back from Tommy John surgery, threw five innings for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday night and, judging from the numbers, wasn’t sharp in what could have been his final minor league rehab outing. He allowed five runs on seven hits and walked two in seven innings.
Yankees center fielder Mason Williams was forced out of Friday’s 7-2 win over the Tigers due to a jammed right shoulder. He suffered the injury diving back into first base in the fifth inning and stayed in the game, but was replaced by Chris Young in the sixth.
Williams was examined by Dr. Chris Ahmad, but no tests were scheduled. Still, his availability for Saturday is in question.
“It’s not the first time, it’s happened before,’’ said Williams, who has had surgery on the left shoulder. “It’s usually a couple of days. Right now [the shoulder] feels just tired, feels like my arm is 1,000 pounds.’’
“The shoulder popped out and then back in,’’ manager Joe Girardi said. “You have to wait and see.’’
What was on the bottom of Jacoby Ellsbury’s shoes represented progress to Girardi.
“I think he looked better. He used his spikes to hit in the dirt today and that’s how he got hurt [last month]. I thought he swung the bat well and I thought he ran a lot better,’’ Girardi said of Ellsbury’s afternoon workout. “He is definitely progressing the way you want. I am not sure exactly what the schedule is [Saturday], but I was pleased with what I saw today.’’
Ellsbury hasn’t played since leaving a game on May 19 with a sprained right knee. There was hope that Ellsbury could return before July but that looks doubtful. Barring a setback, Ellsbury could return before or after the All-Star break (July 13-16).
The Yankees are 15-12 without Ellsbury, who was the team’s best player before going on the DL.
Struggling right-handed reliever Chris Martin was sent to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and right-handers Bryan Mitchell and Branden Pinder were elevated from the same club, while righty reliever Sergio Santos was placed on the DL.
Mitchell, 24, appeared in three big league games (one start) last season when he was 0-1 with a 2.45 ERA. This season he is 4-5 with a 2.79 ERA in 13 starts. In 67 ²/₃ innings he has allowed 54 hits and fanned 54. Mitchell’s weakness has been control and he has issued 34 walks.
Martin was 0-2 with a 5.63 ERA in 18 appearances.
Santos appeared in two games and worked three innings. This is Pinder’s second stint with the Yankees. He was 0-0 with a 2.16 ERA in six games. He allowed one hit in pitching the ninth inning Friday.
Andrew Miller hopes to be cleared to begin throwing this weekend
“I have been hooked up to every machine they have, been doing a lot of soft tissue stuff. I saw Dr. Ahmad and hopefully [throw] this weekend. That’s the plan,’’ Miller said.
Miller, who is a perfect 17-for-17 in save situations and has a 1.03 ERA in 26 games, hasn’t pitched since June 9 due to a strain of the left flexor forearm muscle.