August 17, 2023 | 1:02 am
ATLANTA — Randy Vasquez wasn’t around for long Wednesday, but he got the best of any Yankees player in their series against a loaded Braves lineup.
The rookie right-hander held his own in the Yankees’ 2-0 loss to the Braves, giving up a pair of runs over 3 ¹/3 innings on another night when the Yankees offense went flat.
“Definitely a big learning experience,” Vazquez, who struck out three and walked three, said through an interpreter. “To face a lineup like they have, full of talent, adds to the career I’m trying to build. Every time I get a chance to play at this level, it allows me to continue to grow as a pitcher.”
The Yankees considered using an opener before Vasquez, as they did Friday against the Marlins, but gave him a chance to go right after the Braves.
He surpassed Ronald Acuña Jr. and Matt Olson in the first inning before giving up a two-run homer to Eddie Rosario in the second.
In the fourth, Vasquez allowed back-to-back walks with one out, so manager Aaron Boone went to the bullpen.
Michael King stranded both runners, ensuring Vazquez kept the Braves at bay better than Clarke Schmidt or Luis Severino, who started the first two games of the series.
“I thought he was aggressive,” Boone said. “I thought he threw with confidence.”
Carlos Rodon threw a five-game simulation Wednesday in Tampa, keeping him on track to return to the Yankees’ rotation Tuesday against the Nationals in the Bronx, assuming he doesn’t suffer any setbacks by then.
“I think everything went well,” Boone said. “But we’ll see how the recovery goes and everything in the next few days.”
It remains to be seen who bounces out of the rotation to make room for Rodon, but Severino looks set to stick with it after looking better Tuesday night. Although the right-hander still gave up five runs (three earned) on a pair of home runs in a 5-0 loss, he showed more signs of snapping out of his slump.
For just the second time this season, when he was in the lineup, Aaron Judge wasn’t the Yankees’ No. 2 hitter.
Boone struck out Judge and Gleyber Torres at second and third, which ultimately made little difference, but the coach said he was just trying to shake things up.
“Obviously, teams are looking carefully, understandably, at Aaron,” Boone said. “If we can get an extra opportunity to put a guy in front of him, if Aaron continues to do the way he’s doing, an opportunity for somebody in the middle to get a big to hopefully put some numbers up on the board.”
Both Torres and Judge went 1-for-4.
In 18 games since returning from the injured list, Judge has walked 20 times, but has come around to score just three times after those free passes.
In rare fashion, Boone wore his full uniform for Tuesday’s game.
Asked if that had to do with superstition and trying to shake things up during the Yankees’ funk, he said no.
“Someday I’ll crack it,” he said with a smile. “Maybe you’ll see the pinstripes this weekend one day.”
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