Jhony Brito, Randy Vasquez stepping up for Yankees at key time

MIAMI — There has been no shortage of concerns around the Yankees, who were five-hit by the Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara on Saturday.

But at a possible crisis point for the club’s rotation, a few young arms have answered the call.

After Randy Vasquez was effective in a bulk role following an opener Friday night, Jhony Brito was better on Saturday, albeit in a 3-1 loss at loanDepot Park.

The Yankees placed Nestor Cortes on the injured list Friday, and he likely will miss the rest of the season. That came four days after Carlos Rodon hit the IL.

Domingo German, on the restricted list as he seeks treatment for alcohol abuse, will not pitch again in 2023.

The battered rotation partly turned to openers — Ian Hamilton and Michael King the last two days — but mostly turned to rookies Vasquez and Brito, who both have chances at significant roles for what the team hopes will be a run at a wild-card spot.

Brito followed up Vasquez’s 3 ²/₃-inning, two-run performance by relieving King in the third inning and tossing five innings of one-run ball.

Jhony Brito
Jhony Brito
USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

He allowed a run on three hits and no walks and tied a career high with six strikeouts.

“They’ve been encouraging all year,” manager Aaron Boone said of Vasquez and Brito after the Yankees split the first two games of the series. “It’s valuable experience for them, and they continue to grow up. It’s good to see them go out and have representative outings for us.”

King, who allowed two runs in two innings and put the Yankees in an early hole from which they did not escape, is being stretched out as another possibility for a rotation-starved club.

But for the immediate future, it might be up to Vasquez and Brito to keep the Yankees afloat.

Brito, 25, lowered his ERA to 4.76 through 15 major league games.

His only trouble Saturday came in the fourth inning, when he hit Jake Burger with a pitch and allowed a single to Jesus Sanchez before Joey Wendle singled in a run.

Randy Vasquez
Randy Vasquez
Getty Images

That was the only run charged to Brito, who retired 10 of the final 11 hitters he faced, with the help of a good fastball and a curveball that he threw more than usual.

Lefty Marlins hitters in particular were sitting on his go-to changeup, so he mixed it up.

Because of days off Thursday and Aug. 21, the Yankees will not need to necessarily carry five starters.

They could survive with four until the time Rodon returns from a hamstring strain.

Still, there are scenarios in which both Brito and Vasquez will remain in the rotation.

Luis Severino has been abysmal and is set to pitch Tuesday against the mighty Braves in Atlanta.

As the Yankees’ compliment of arms grows thin, they have found a few threads the club hopes can keep them together.

“It’s our responsibility to be ready to pitch if they are requiring us to step up and pitch in different roles,” Brito said through interpreter Marlon Abreu. “To me, focus on what I need to do out there and go out and do the job.”

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁

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