Yankees see ‘a lot left’ in Jay Bruce after tough Opening Day

For a brief moment Thursday, it looked like Jay Bruce might play the hero in his first game in a Yankees uniform.

Unfortunately, his fly-out in the seventh inning only traveled 363 feet, landing in the glove of Blue Jays right fielder Teoscar Hernandez for one out rather than on the wall for a Yankees lead.

It was an uneventful Opening Day for Bruce, who went 3-0 with a walk from No. 8 and was not tested defensively at first base in a 3-2 loss in 10 innings. .

“I think we will continue to see a very good player,” manager Aaron Boone said Thursday. “A guy that we feel has a lot left. A guy who has obviously had a really good career up to this point and he’s not an old guy.

“He’s older and a veteran, but he’s only 33 years old and I think physically he’s probably in a better place than he’s been in the last two years. We hope that, as a result of that, we will get a highly productive player. “

Jay bruce
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Bruce, who earned a spot on the list after Luke Voit opted to undergo surgery for a partially torn meniscus, is expected to be the regular starter at first base until Voit returns. The former Met is a natural outfielder who hadn’t made more than 10 starts at first base in a season through 2018. He still had just 50 career starts at the position going into this season.

DJ LeMahieu can replace at first base, as he did Thursday in the 10th inning, passing second, and Mike Tauchman has also been taking ground rounds early. But Bruce said late in camp that he thinks he could keep improving at the position.

“I’m sure I can play a very good first base, and with more practice, I think I can be good,” Bruce said.

Boone insisted he would play the matchups while Aroldis Chapman served his two-game suspension to start the year, and the coach kept his word on Opening Day. Rather than retain Chad Green for a possible save scenario, he called up the high-leverage reliever as the first pitcher out of the bullpen on Thursday.

Green replaced Gerrit Cole with one out in the sixth inning and pitched scoreless 1² / infields in what was then a 2-2 game.

Jonathan Loaisiga pitched an eight-pitch eighth inning and Darren O’Day handled the ninth before Nick Nelson was charged with the loss in the 10th after allowing an initial RBI double.

The Yankees have one more game to go without a designated closer before Chapman is eligible to return for Sunday’s series finale.


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