Yankees send Mike Ford back to Triple-A

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After another brutal night at the plate, Mike Ford punched his ticket out of The Bronx.

The Yankees optioned Ford to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday following their 5-3 win over the Rays at the Stadium, in which the first baseman went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.

Ford dropped his batting average to .133 with a .561 OPS and 23 strikeouts through 22 games, most recently filling in for the injured Luke Voit.

The team did not announce a corresponding move, but first baseman Chris Gittens has been on its radar, entering Tuesday batting .268 with a 1.098 OPS.

The 27-year-old is not on the 40-man roster, but the Yankees could open a spot by transferring Corey Kluber to the 60-day IL.

As for Voit, he is “a few weeks” away from returning from his oblique strain, Boone said, but the first baseman reported feeling better than expected Tuesday.

Domingo German walked off the mound Tuesday night against the Rays after five innings, having given up three hits.

The Yankees bullpen was unhittable the rest of the way.

Paving the way for Clint Frazier’s walk-off home run in the 11th inning, six relievers combined for six hitless innings to fend off the Rays.

“The bullpen was terrific, especially there in extra innings, coming in and holding them down,” manager Aaron Boone said.

Wandy Peralta, Jonathan Loaisiga, Chad Green, Aroldis Chapman, Lucas Luetge and Luis Cessa came out of the bullpen to keep a 3-3 game intact, working their way around base runners — via walks and then automatic runners in extras — to give the Yankees the chance to finally win it in the 11th.

Luetge, who threw two scoreless innings Monday, answered the challenge in the 10th inning, stranding the automatic runner on third base after retiring the top of the Rays lineup. Cessa did him one better, keeping the runner at second with a 1-2-3 top of the 11th.

“That bullpen has been everything we could have hoped for from the start of the season,” Boone said.

Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres were both out of the starting lineup Tuesday, but found their way into the game as pinch hitters late.

Stanton, who grounded out in the eighth inning to fall to 0-for-13 since coming back from the IL, had a “planned day” off, Boone said, with an eye toward building him back up “smartly” after missing two weeks.

Torres, who walked in the 10th inning, had initially gotten a breather Tuesday after committing three errors in his last two games.

“I look at the last couple days out there more as a little bit of a rut,” Boone said. “A little bit of a snowball effect that you gotta get past as a big league shortstop.”

Luis Severino sat at 97 mph in his three-inning simulated game Monday, Boone said. The right-hander’s next step in his comeback from Tommy John surgery will be a rehab assignment Sunday, potentially at Double-A Somerset or Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Third base coach Phil Nevin, who experienced symptoms as one of the Yankees’ breakthrough COVID-19 cases last month, was with the team Tuesday. Boone said is doing “very well” and hopes to soon have him back in the dugout and eventually at third base.

Kluber (right shoulder strain) was expected to get another opinion “that will be significant” in determining his future, Boone said. … LHP Zack Britton will throw his next rehab appearance Wednesday with Double-A Somerset.

The Yankees acquired infielder Connor Cannon from the Giants as the player to be named later in the Mike Tauchman-Peralta trade. Cannon, 23, hit 13 home runs in 37 games in his first year as a pro in 2019.

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