With the Yankees protecting a one-run lead in the eighth inning Sunday, Aaron Boone called on a lefty out of the bullpen.
But it was Lucas Luetge, not Zack Britton, who came in to face the top of the Athletics order on the way to a 2-1 win.
While Luetge got the job done — working around a one-out triple by Matt Chapman — Boone revealed after the game that he was trying to stay away from Britton, who was dealing with “soreness.”
“He was just heavy today,” Boone said. “It’s just him working on the mound, him working to get back. Just decided before the game let’s try to stay away from him with the off day [Monday] and feel like we should be good.”
Britton, who underwent surgery to remove a bone chip from his elbow in March, has not pitched since Thursday. He has thrown three scoreless innings since being activated from the injured list on June 12.
“He could have pitched, but felt like he’s still going through that buildup of spring mode, getting some of that soreness out of there,” Boone said. “Just felt like it was best to stay away from him today. Plus, I have a ton of confidence in Lucas Luetge.”
Chad Green, who struck out the side in the eighth inning Saturday, was also unavailable because of his recent workload, Boone said.
Coming off a rough outing Tuesday against the Blue Jays, when he gave up a season-high tying five runs in 5 ¹/₃ innings, Jordan Montgomery rebounded with a strong outing against the A’s. He gave up just a solo home run to Matt Olson across 5 ¹/₃ innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out six.
“I thought he was really strong today,” Boone said.
After the game, the Yankees optioned Chris Gittens to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The first baseman went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts Sunday and hit 2-for-21 with a home run and four RBIs in 10 games since getting called up.
The move opens a roster spot for Luke Voit (right oblique strain), who is on track to be activated off the injured list for Tuesday’s game against the Royals. Voit hit 8-for-19 with two home runs in five rehab games.
Luis Severino (Tommy John surgery, groin strain) played catch for the second day in a row, but Boone said he was unsure of when he might get back on a mound.
“Sevy’s doing really well,” Boone said. “Encouraged about how he’s responded to things. He’s actually been able to get up and do a little more and a little more symptom/pain-free things than he and us even expected at this point.”
RHP Darren O’Day (right rotator cuff strain) will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday, and LHP Justin Wilson (right hamstring strain), who threw a light bullpen session Sunday, could join him later in the week.