Yankees make handful of changes prior to ALDS Game 1

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 23: Sonny Gray /

The New York Yankees shook things up Thursday, before facing a very tough Cleveland Indians ball club in Game 1 of the ALDS.

The Yankees added right-hander Masahiro Tanaka and lefties Jordan Montgomery and Jaime García to their American League Division Series roster on Thursday. To make space for the trio, outfielder Clint Frazier, infielder Tyler Wade, and reliever Chasen Shreve were removed.

Rather than start Luis Severino in one of the first three games of the series, manager Joe Girardi has penciled in the righty for Game 4, should the series advance that far. The postseason’s Division Series’ is played as a best-of-five elimination set.

Sonny Gray will start Thursday, CC Sabathia gets the call for Game 2, and Tanaka is scheduled for Game 3.

Girardi also made some lineup changes:

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  1. Brett Gardner, LF
  2. Aaron Judge, RF
  3. Gary Sánchez, C
  4. Didi Gregorius, SS
  5. Starlin Castro, 2B
  6. Greg Bird, 1B
  7. Todd Frazier, 3B
  8. Chase Headley, DH
  9. Aaron Hicks, CF

Headley is DH’ing while Jacoby Ellsbury takes a turn on the bench.

Gray will square off against Indians’ right-hander, Trevor Bauer. The Yankees went out and acquired Gray in July for this exact situation.

“One of the reasons we went out and got [Gray] was [for him] to pitch in a big game like this,” Gardner told Newsday Sports’ Erik Boland. “We’re excited about our chances.”

It has to be nice for Brian Cashman and Co. to see their vision come to fruition. Gray features lively two-seam and four-seam fastballs, a changeup, slider, and curveball, all of which he tinkers with mid-game and throws with various speed and movement.

As for Bauer, he predominately uses a heater-breaking ball combo but also slips in some cutters and changeups. He faced the Yankees twice in the regular season, and won both decisions, surrendering only two runs in 13 frames.

Meanwhile, the Indians saw Gray three times, and with greater success, handing him two losses.

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Bauer’s first pitch to Gardner comes at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1. Game 2 takes place Friday before both teams get an off day.