|Betances could return as Yanks face Jays in finale|
The New York Yankees and the host Toronto Blue Jays will be playing the rubber match of a three-game series Sunday afternoon, and both teams could be featuring players returning from injury.
The Yankees (98-52) clubbed five home runs Saturday -- two by Brett Gardner -- in a 13-3 win over the Blue Jays (58-91) to gain a split of the first two games of the series.
Yankees reliever Dellin Betances (right shoulder impingement) will join the Yankees for the game Sunday after completing a rehabilitation assignment.
The New York starter will be left-hander Jordan Montgomery, 26, who will be returning from Tommy John surgery to make his first major league start since May 1, 2018, when he faced the Houston Astros.
Toronto will start T.J. Zeuch (0-0, 5.40 ERA), who will be making his second career major league start and his third appearance.
The Blue Jays had two injured players return Saturday when left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (left quadriceps strain) went 2-for-3 and was hit by a pitch as DH, and right-hander Elvis Luciano (right elbow sprain) allowed two hits and no runs in one inning.
A big question for the Yankees is how much of pre-injury form Betances can regain for the postseason after missing all season. At his peak, Betances can hit 100 mph with his fastball, but during his minor league rehabilitation he has been in the 94-95 range.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone was not sure how Betances will be used or whether he would pitch Sunday after pitching for Double-A Trenton Friday.
"We will manage him as far as being smart about his workload and building him up properly," Boone said. "Getting him in spots where he can be successful. Whether that falls into the back end (of the bullpen) I am not sure. ... I am not certain he will pitch (Sunday). It would be the first time pitching after one day's rest. There may be a situation we might want to throw him in. The biggest thing is trying to get him built up properly."
Montgomery could throw up to 60 pitches on Sunday and could force himself into the Yankees' postseason plans in the final two weeks of the regular season.
"I wouldn't rule out that if he comes out and pitches really well he could push himself into the conversation," Boone said.
Montgomery is 11-7 with a 3.84 ERA in 35 career starts, and he is 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA, in three career starts against Toronto.
Zeuch, who pitched a no-hitter with Triple-A Buffalo, allowed three runs, six hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox in his second major league outing.
The Yankees lead the season series with the Blue Jays 9-6, with one series left between the teams this season.
While the Yankees are going for the best record in the majors, the Blue Jays are building for the future with the expected growing pains.
"Luckily we haven't had many of these even though we're playing the good teams," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said after the blowout Saturday. "We have been in every game. It's a good thing it's September, and so a lot of guys are getting a chance to play. What you can learn from it, you let it go and be ready to play tomorrow. That's the learning lesson, it's just one game."
--Field Level Media