J.A. Happ shake-up gives insight to Yankees’ playoff plan – New York Post

J.A. Happ shake-up gives insight to Yankees’ playoff plan – New York Post

CC Sabathia isn’t the only high-priced left-handed starter who looks to be headed to the bullpen for the Yankees.

J.A. Happ will pitch Wednesday at Tampa Bay “in some way, shape or form,’’ Aaron Boone said after the Yankees beat the Blue Jays 8-3 on Sunday in The Bronx.

The Yankees are lining up Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and Sunday’s starter, Luis Severino, to start in the ALDS. Happ’s role isn’t as clear.

“It is what it is,’’ Happ said Sunday after learning of the plan for him potentially to pitch in relief.

“I’m comfortable with doing whatever it takes to try to win in the postseason.’’

Happ came to the Yankees in the middle of last season and delivered exactly what they wanted down the stretch. Happ went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts before he struggled in the playoffs.

J.A. Happ
J.A. HappCorey Sipkin

After signing a two-year, $34 million deal with a vesting option for a third year in the offseason, Happ’s first full season in The Bronx has been rocky at best. In 30 starts, Happ has a 5.01 ERA, but he has been better in four September starts, with a 1.61 ERA in 22 ¹/₃ innings.

Happ, though, has some experience coming out of the pen.

“In the playoffs, I doubt we’re the only team to go this route,” Happ said of moving starters to the pen. “But even if we are, it’s whatever it takes to win.”

Happ said his biceps tendinitis is improved after he got a cortisone shot over a week ago and there are no plans for an offseason procedure.

While Happ will go Wednesday — a day after Sabathia pitches out of the pen — Tanaka won’t pitch until Sunday’s regular-season finale at Texas. Paxton and Severino will also pitch in that series.

Boone said they considered having Tanaka throw an inning or two at Tampa Bay, but decided against it.

“Skipping [Tanaka] is more making sure he’s good and fresh going into [the playoffs],’’ Boone said. “We’re gonna rest guys here and there, but we’re gonna go for it. That’s as far out as I look at it right now.’’

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