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Anthony Volpe puts on offensive show after drop in Yankees’ order

Anthony Volpe went from leadoff hitter to run-producer.

Dropped to No. 7 in the order after sitting atop the lineup in his previous 23 starts, the rookie shortstop responded with a game-tying home run and a go-ahead RBI single Friday night in the Yankees’ 6-5 victory over the Rays.

“I’m just happy playing,” Volpe said. “Regardless of where I’m at, I just want to put together good at-bats and help the team. Nothing changes my approach.”

The lineup change wasn’t a surprise given that Volpe was hitting .158 with 15 strikeouts and a paltry .502 OPS over his previous 15 games, but manager Aaron Boone guarded against the perception he was penalizing the youngster.

In fact, he teased lowering Volpe further to use a double-leadoff concept and chalked up his big game on the night of the change to coincidence.

“With getting some more guys back [healthy] in the mix, it was something I’ve considered,” Boone said. “I think the at-bat quality has remained there with Anthony. He could end up back there, or as we get more guys back he could end up at the bottom [No. 9] again. I like him there.”

Volpe squeezed in extra swings in the cage before on-field batting practice.


Anthony Volpe celebrates his solo home run in the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Anthony Volpe celebrates his solo home run in the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays.
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It paid dividends when he tied the score at 2-2 with a 373-foot fifth-inning solo home run into the right-center-field stands off Josh Fleming’s sinker.

That quieted boos caused by Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who had hit into a double play ahead of Volpe’s at-bat.

“I don’t think he is fazed by where he hits in the lineup,” Anthony Rizzo said. “He knows he has all of our support, and that matters most when you are young. His at-bats have been really good. He’s hit the ball well a number of times and haven’t gotten results. When those start falling, I think the best is yet to come.”

Volpe wasn’t done. He jumped on a first pitch from Trevor Kelly and singled home the first of two seventh-inning runs for a temporary 3-2 lead.


Anthony Volpe celebrates Oswaldo Cabrera after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays.
Anthony Volpe celebrates Oswaldo Cabrera after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays.
USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

“I just wanted to stay through the middle of the field,” Volpe said. “Those guys are pretty opposite — two different types of pitchers I was facing. But I’d seen them in Tampa and wanted to stay aggressive. I kind of figured he was going to attack me.”

The Yankees elevated Gleyber Torres — not pre-Volpe choice DJ LeMahieu — into the leadoff spot.

Torres, whose strikeout rate is down from last season and his career and whose walk rate is up from last season and his career, went 0-for-3 with a walk.

“I’ll try to keep my approach,” Torres said before the game. “I don’t think they changed the lineup because of anything [Volpe] can’t do. He’s a great hitter, a mature guy. Things are not going well right now for him, but going back in the lineup maybe takes a little pressure off him. When he starts raking again, he will be leadoff again.”

Boone didn’t pull aside Volpe before making the new-look lineup because he wasn’t concerned about unintentionally sending a message of lost faith.

“He is confident, rightfully so,” Boone said. “He just wants to win. I don’t worry about him.”

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