Yankees GM joins team amid slide: ‘It’s gone on long enough’

Saying the New York Yankees’ spiral had “gone on long enough,’’ general manager Brian Cashman accompanied his struggling club to St. Petersburg, Florida.

“Because of how we’ve been playing, I’ve decided to join us,’’ Cashman told reporters Tuesday, including the Associated Press, before the Yankees’ 16th loss in their last 21 games.

Yankees starter Carlos Rodon gave up four first inning runs, and the fourth-place Tampa Bay Rays won 5-3 at Tropicana Field, where Yankees’ owner Hal Steinbrenner was also in attendance.

Cashman had already planned to be in Tampa ahead of next week’s First Year Player Draft, with Yankees personnel gathered at the club’s minor league and spring training headquarters.

Acknowledging the team’s MLB worst record since June 15, when they owned the game’s best mark at 50-22, Cashman told reporters “it’s been a struggle, obviously.

All things Yankees: Latest New York Yankees news, schedule, roster, stats, injury updates and more.

“Thankfully, we got out of the gates really strong, so hopefully that cushion will allow us to work through this sooner than later, because it’s gone on long enough.’’

Brian Cashman’s MLB trade deadline outlook

After posting the league’s best ERA without Gerrit Cole, on the injured list through June 18, the Yankees’ starting pitching hit a wall and their lineup has suffered since Giancarlo Stanton went on the IL.

Sidelined since June 23, Stanton (strained left hamstring) could ramp up baseball activity just after the All-Star break, with a possible return around the July 30 MLB trade deadline.

Until then, Cashman will be seeking upgrades for his second-place club, three games behind the AL East-leading Orioles – with a three-game series looming at Baltimore this weekend, before the break.

“We’re going to be open minded to a lot of different things,’’ Cashman told reporters about possible deals, without directly addressing needs.

“I’m not going to point out anything specific, but we definitely have areas to improve upon and we’ll do our best,’’ Cashman said. “We’ve just got to figure our way through this ourselves and hopefully we can add some pieces at some point.’’

Adding a swing-and-miss element to the bullpen is one avenue to pursue, and the Yankees should continue to explore corner infield options and possibly a starting pitcher.

“I need to be better,’’ said Rodon, who lasted just four innings against the Rays.

The veteran lefty is now 0-5 in his last five starts, with a 10.57 ERA – that’s 27 earned runs in 23 innings, with 36 hits allowed.

Aaron Boone: It starts with me

Rodon suggested to reporters, including the YES Network, that he needs to deploy his whole arsenal.

According to MLB Statcast, Rodon threw 46 fastballs, 26 changeups, 13 sliders and 10 curveballs in his 95-pitch outing Tuesday, with the cutter missing from his repertoire.

Rodon gave up hits to the first four batters he faced Tuesday, including Isaac Paredes’ three-run homer on a 96-mph 1-0 fastball – the eighth homer yielded by Rodon in his last five starts.

After Rays’ right-handed starter Ryan Pepiot exited in the sixth, Ben Rice’s fifth homer since Thursday – a two-run shot off lefty reliever Colin Poche – cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 4-3 in the seventh.

From there, relievers Jason Adam and Pete Fairbanks sent the Yanks (55-38) to their sixth loss in their last seven games.

Sidelined the past two games with right groin tightness, Gleyber Torres (1-for-4) returned with an RBI single.

Aaron Judge (1-for-3, walk) was in a 2-for-21 slide before a third inning single, and Juan Soto (0-for-4, walk) flied to the center field warning track as the tying run to end the game.  

The Rays are 45-46 and the Yanks lead the AL wild card standings, but Aaron Boone’s club is just 13-17 against AL East teams.

“It starts with me,’’ Boone told reporters after the game, including the YES Network. “I filter into the coaches and it’s about us trying to get these guys prepared the best we can, setting a tone with how we present ourselves.’’

This post appeared first on USA TODAY