Chad Green looks completely different in ‘awesome’ Yankees return

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Chad Green returned to the big leagues vowing he was fixed, and just a few hours later, he backed up that proclamation with authority.

The Yankees’ 7-1 victory over the Rays on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field, giving them the edge in this important series between the American League’s East top two teams, featured a late bonus: Green made his return appearance in a low-leverage situation and struck out Brandon Lowe, Avisail Garcia and Kevin Kiermaier in succession to close out the win.

“Man, it was awesome,” Aaron Boone said following the game. “That’s Chad Green right there.”

“You want to see instant results after the way I struggled,” Green said.

Boy, did he struggle, putting up a ghastly 16.43 ERA in 10 appearances — after terrific showings of 1.83 in 2017 and 2.50 last year — that prompted the Yankees to take the dramatic step of shipping him out to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

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It all came down, Green said Sunday before the game, to “how I break my hands.” His hand movements in the set position “was the big key, and that seemed to fix a lot of things,” he said. “That seemed to fix three or four things that were going on. That was the first step. Just trying to tweak a few minor things after that.”

After some examination of video and side work, the 27-year-old made three starts for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre totaling seven ⅓ innings and allowing two runs, five hits and two walks while striking out 14.

While initially resistant to the demotion after establishing his big-league bona fides, Green acknowledged: “I knew something had to give. I knew I had to work on stuff and this is a tough place to do that.”

Asked whether he’s back mechanically to where he was in his dominant 2017, Green responded: “I wouldn’t say the exact same, but I’m very similar to that. Trying to get back to being as identical to that as possible. It was just changed throughout the years for some reason. It might take a little longer to get back to that. But I feel like I’m in a good spot now.”

If there’s any silver lining to this unexpected adversity, Green said: “It’s nice to know that if I do ever go back to what I was, [adjusting my hands] can be the simple fix. I think that was a big thing. Try to keep it as simple as possible. Not try to get too technical.”

If only all fixes could go so smoothly.

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