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New York Yankees first baseman Jay Bruce is not in the lineup for Friday's game against the Rays. Bruce started each of the last two games but will cede the first-base duties to DJ LeMahieu, with Rougned Odor getting the start at second. Bruce is batting just .118 with one home run and 13 strikeouts in 39 plate appearances so far in 2021.
New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres will bat third against Rays' right-hander Michael Wacha. It's the first time this season that Torres will slot into the number-three spot in the batting order, as manager Aaron Boone attempts to get his underperforming lineup- and shortstop- going. The 24-year-old has posted a .705 OPS in 118 career plate appearances as the third hitter in the order. Torres is off to a slow start, though it's a good matchup against Wacha, who has allowed a barrel rate above 8.0 percent in two of the last three seasons- and has actually been more susceptible to right-handed batters in his career.
The New York Yankees are going with pitcher Nick Nelson as an opener in Friday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Michael King will follow Nelson in relief. Yankees manager Aaron Boone stated that he wanted to give the team's starters an extra day of rest. Jordan Montgomery will take the mound on Saturday with Gerrit Cole pitching on Sunday. Nelson has made three appearances in relief this year. His last one was a rough one against the Rays last Friday. He allowed four earned runs over 1 2/3 innings.
New York Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier had an optimistic outlook surrounding him coming out of spring training when he was named the team's starting left fielder. However, it's been more of the same story for Frazier, who has been stuck in a near-even split for reps with Brett Gardner, having started six games to Gardner's five in left field this season. Gardner has been putting together more patient at-bats in the early going, though it's a bit concerning that the team won't fully commit to their initial plan of Frazier as their starter, even with the latter in the midst of a slump. Fantasy managers will have to hope that Frazier, who has a .561 OPS and 29.4 percent strikeout rate, starts to swing the bat better, forcing manager Aaron Boone's hand.
New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez had nowhere to go but up after a disastrous 2020 season. Sanchez is off to a much-needed good start at the plate this year, slashing .265/.375/.471 with two homers, though it's been his improved decision-making at the plate that has really impressed so far. The 28-year-old backstop has made the biggest improvement from '20 to '21 in his strikeout rate of any hitter in the majors, as he's shaved 19.3 percentage points off his 36 percent rate from last season. While it's a small sample size of just 40 at-bats, it's one of the better stretches of his career in that span of trips to the plate- and it's been powered by better decisions, as evidenced by improved rates in outside and inside-the-zone swings. Sanchez may regress a bit as the season goes on, but his early improvements point to a bounce-back season, which would easily place him among the top-five catchers in fantasy baseball.