Yankees still plan to split Austin Wells, Jose Trevino even with slew of upcoming righties

The Yankees played their 90th game of the season Friday night, with Austin Wells getting his 45th start behind the plate to form an even split with Jose Trevino.

But at a time when the lineup, besides Aaron Judge and Juan Soto, has been scuffling, Wells’ lefty bat has the potential to deliver more of a jolt.

The Yankees have come out on the other side of facing a heavy stretch of left-handed starters — seven of nine games and eight of their last 13 — during which Trevino started against every southpaw.

They are now set to face a heavier dose of righties, including all three games against the Red Sox this weekend, which should mean more playing time for Wells, though manager Aaron Boone indicated it would likely still be a fairly even split.

Yankees catcher Austin Wells hits a solo homer during the fifth inning against the Reds on Thursday. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

“I think Austin will play more now that we’re out of that lefty stretch,” Boone said Friday before opening a series against the Red Sox in The Bronx. “It looks like we’ve got a string of righties coming our way. But not all righties are the same, not all lefties are the same. … I still see them both playing a lot, similar to what it’s been all year where they’ve essentially split the position.”

The Yankees place a premium on the way Trevino — who is set to catch Gerrit Cole on Saturday afternoon — handles the pitching staff and his pitch-framing ability, even if his arm was exposed the last time they faced the Red Sox (who stole nine bases in one game against him).

But Wells has made strides behind the plate, including being a top-five pitch-framer in the game (Trevino leads Baseball Savant’s metric), and has started to hit more like he had been known for during his rise through the minor leagues.

David Hamilton of the Boston Red Sox dives home safely as catcher Jose Trevino of the New York Yankees moves to make a late tag during the eighth inning at Fenway Park on June 16, 2024. Getty Images

Over his last 17 games before starting Friday — 11 of which were starts — Wells was batting .275 with a .938 OPS. He had reached base in each of his last 12 starts while homering in two of his last three starts.

“Still trying to figure it out, like we all are,” Wells said. “But I feel good every day going in with my approach and knowing I have the most confidence in my abilities to play the game and compete. It’s just day to day going out there and continuing to try to do that and not lose sight of what we’re trying to do, which is win.”

Not playing every day has been an adjustment for Wells, who indicated he has gotten better at preparing like he is going to play every day whether or not he is.

Austin Wells is greeted by New York Yankees third baseman Oswaldo Cabrera after he scores on his solo homer during the fifth inning. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

But he has put together mostly competitive at-bats throughout this stretch, which the Yankees lineup sorely needs while they are missing Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo because of injuries.

“It’s a young, young player that we feel like has a chance to be a really good hitter in this league,” Boone said. “Probably is getting a little bit more comfortable with how big leaguers are attacking him and being in here and having a plan going up there.

“I do feel like he’s been putting together some really competitive at-bats and that’s really good to see because if he can do that, then the power can start to show up. His patience will show up, which it has a little bit. He’s not afraid to get deep into the count, he’s got a pretty good eye. Hopefully it’s something where we’re seeing him grow into that next phase of offensive player.”

Jose Trevino walks back to the dugout after he strikes out looking in the second inning at Yankee Stadium, Tuesday, July 2, 2024, in Bronx, NY. Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Boone could get Wells more at-bats by using him at DH while Stanton is out, but he has not shown any inclination to do that — and Friday said Aaron Judge will get “a lot” of DH duties over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, Wells — who along with Trevino has been right around the league average in terms of throwing out base stealers — was looking forward to the challenge the Red Sox presented on the bases this weekend.

“It’s a fun challenge, honestly,” Wells said. “Going against guys who you know are going to run gives you a little more — not a little more focus, but a little more intensity behind the plate, which I always encourage. … I think the pitchers and me and Trevy, we’re looking forward to this series to try to balance the scales a little bit.”

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