With the Yankees facing the potential of elimination against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 4 of the ALDS on Thursday night, Gary Sanchez remains on the bench.
Prior to the game, manager Aaron Boone discussed his decision to keep Kyle Higashioka in the lineup over Sanchez, talked about the expectations for Game 4 starter Jordan Montgomery, and outlined his bullpen plan.
"Another close call for me," Boone said about Sanchez. "Again, it comes down to more Kyle earning these opportunities. Feel like he's providing enough for us offensively and doing a great job behind the plate.
"Honestly felt like I could've gone with Gary as well and would've felt good about that. But in the end after just contemplating it, talking with some coaches a little bit, just felt like this was the way I wanted to go today."
As far as Montgomery, Boone said he has the ability to excel on Thursday night.
"Well he's a really good pitcher, (I) think he's had a really good year for us," Boone explained. "Couple of starts here and there that skewed his line from really how good he's been all season. I know that if he can own his delivery and dictate counts, he's a guy that's very difficult to hit.
"We've seen it all year, the weak contact, the swing and miss he gets out of the zone, obviously commanding his fastball early will be key, and if he can do that, I feel like he can go out and really give us a strong performance."
While Boone expressed confidence in Montgomery, he said he could turn to the bullpen early -- with Deivi Garcia available but Gerrit Cole likely being held back for a potential Game 5.
"Yeah I mean we'll be real aggressive," Boone said. "Obviously, there is no tomorrow, we got to win today. We got a lot of guys available down there. Obviously Deivi's down there for innings if we need it. So we'll be aggressive if we need to. But the hope is that Monty goes out there and really can have his way a couple times through."