|Gregorius returns to lineup as Yankees visit Rangers|
New York's Didi Gregorius will return to the lineup on Monday when the Yankees square off against the Texas Rangers in the first of a three-game series at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
New York will send right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (4-2, 4.73 ERA) to the mound in the series opener while the Rangers will counter with right-hander Bartolo Colon (2-1, 2.82).
Gregorius was on the bench for the final two games of New York's series against the Kansas City Royals to take a mental and physical break as he tries to rebound from a 1-for-45 skid at the plate.
For Gregorius, it has been an extreme contrast at the plate from April to May. He was named the American League's Player of the Month for April, when he blasted 10 home runs.
"If you guys remember the beginning, I said you've got to enjoy it while it lasts," Gregorius told MLB.com. "The slumps are always going to come."
With the Royals starting two left-handers Saturday and Sunday, New York manager Aaron Boone penciled in Ronald Torreyes at shortstop.
"Just felt like it was a good pause for (Gregorius)," Boone said. "We're built as everyday players to appreciate the grind. But when you are given that day to just decompress a little bit, I think you benefit from that. Hopefully, that's the case with Didi."
The Yankees head to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex on the heels of a dominating 10-1 victory over Kansas City that allowed New York to claim its eighth straight series win. Sonny Gray (3-3) hurled eight innings in the win, surrendering a run and four hits while striking out five, and Tyler Austin bashed two home runs.
The Rangers, meanwhile, traveled back to the Lone Star State after a 3-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox, as Texas was defeated three times in the four-game series in the Windy City. Texas managed just two hits in the setback, which wasted a six-inning, nine-strikeout performance by Mike Minor (3-3).
Monday's game is the start of a seven-game, seven-day homestand for the Rangers. Texas has gone just 7-16 this season, but has won two of its past three games in Arlington and is 4-4 in its last eight.
The Rangers are in a stretch of playing 20 consecutive days from May 15-June 3, the longest such span for the club in 2018.
The Rangers activated right-hander Chris Martin from the 10-day disabled list on Sunday and optioned right-hander Ariel Jurado back to Double-A Frisco a day after he made his major league debut.
Martin was placed on the disabled list on May 2 with right forearm irritation and last pitched on April 30. He made two minor league appearances at Double-A Frisco last week, throwing a scoreless inning in each appearance.
"You never want to take that time off (from pitching in the big leagues), but I went down and did what I needed to do," Martin said.
Tanaka will make his 10th start of the season and pitch on extended five days' rest. He did not record a decision in his last start in Tuesday's suspended game at the Washington Nationals, allowing three earned runs in five innings of work before being removed for a pinch-hitter in the top of the sixth. Tanaka is undefeated in his past five starts, going 2-0 with a 3.72 ERA over that stretch.
Tanaka has made just four career starts against the Rangers, going 0-2 with a 6.38 ERA. He last faced the Rangers in an 11-5 loss on Sept. 8, 2017 in Arlington.
Colon, who turns 45 on Thursday, will make his 10th appearance and eighth start of the season. He has 242 career wins, one shy of matching Hall of Famer Juan Marichal (243) for most wins in Major League Baseball history by a native of the Dominican Republic.
Colon will be working on regular four days' rest after earning a victory on Wednesday at the Seattle Mariners. He has gone 6-9 with a 6.11 ERA in 21 games, 20 of them starts, in his career against the Yankees, including 0-2, 12.27 in two starts in 2017. The 6.11 career ERA is the highest for Colon against any American League opponent.