KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he didn’t have the hot-hitting Aaron Judge in the lineup because he expected him to play all three games in Toronto this week.
“It’s hard to keep him out,” Boone said of Judge, who had five homers in his previous seven games, all wins.
Boone also has said repeatedly he doesn’t anticipate any players not being able to play due to COVID-19 regulations in Canada.
The Yankees, who defeated the Royals 3-0 on Saturday night, will also join the growing list of teams that are going to take the two-hour bus ride from Toronto to Buffalo to avoid having to have a negative COVID test to cross the border by air.
The Red Sox and Astros are among the other teams that have similar travel plans from Toronto, wary of losing players to a positive test.
The Yankees’ 13-game streak without an error was snapped when Isiah Kiner-Falefa couldn’t handle Salvador Perez’s sharp grounder to open the bottom of the season.
The stretch had matched the second longest streak in franchise history, set in 2012. The team record is an 18-game errorless stretch in 2009.
“It’s a priority,’’ Boone said before the game of the team’s defense. “So far we’ve been good, but it’s April.”
Gleyber Torres’ improved performance at the plate continued with two more hits and an RBI. Including his pinch-hit, game-winning hit on April 21, Torres is 9-for-24 with three extra-base hits and seven RBIs.
“He’s been a big part of this [winning streak],’’ Boone said.
The Yankees will have to make some decisions before they face the Blue Jays on Monday, since MLB rosters will have to be trimmed by two players to 26.
Reliever Clarke Schmidt might be a candidate to go down, since he has minor league options remaining and hasn’t pitched much lately.
Boone said before the game Saturday he believed there was still a role for Schmidt, even with fellow right-hander Michael King able to provide length from the bullpen.
Boone said, “possibly,” when asked if there would be room for both.
”We’ll see where we are after Sunday night and what our needs are,” he said.
Schmidt has had a promising start to the season, allowing just one earned run over 7 ¹/₃ innings, but he entered Saturday with just three appearances on the year, most recently on April 19, when he tossed 3 ¹/₃ shutout innings in relief of Gerrit Cole in Detroit.
The 26-year-old Schmidt might be better served pitching more regularly at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, at least for the time being. He could also be built up as a starter there in case the Yankees need help in that department, but there are some scouts that believe Schmidt is well-suited to the role he’s in now because of his pitch mix.