Jose Trevino, Yankees looking to curb recent defensive woes

Prior to this past week, there didn’t seem to be much of an issue with Jose Trevino’s defense. 

Baserunners had swiped 19 bases with Trevino behind the plate and he’d thrown out nine. 

Then came Sunday’s game in Boston when the Red Sox ran roughshod over Trevino, Marcus Stroman and the Yankees, stealing nine bases, with only one caught. 

And that was followed up by Baltimore’s four stolen bases — against no caught steals — in Trevino’s next start Wednesday. 

The storm appeared to pass Thursday as the aggressive Orioles swiped only one bag, with Trevino catching. 

Shohei Ohtani tries to score a run against Jose Trevino at Yankee Stadium on June 9, 2024 in New York City. Getty Images

Still, the spotlight remains on Trevino as the Yankees try to cut down on that part of the game, with a spotlight on Trevino’s reduced arm speed. 

And catching coordinator Tanner Swanson said Friday he’s aware of the scrutiny. 

“It certainly got attention,” Swanson said of Boston’s record-setting performance Sunday. “Will it influence teams’ behavior going forward? Maybe in the short term, but I think it will balance itself out. We’re not overly concerned, but we’re not ignoring it.” 

Jose Trevino is doing something about his recent defensive struggles. Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Swanson pointed to the fact that since Trevino is coming back from wrist surgery, he’s still getting his mechanics back. 

“His arm strength has returned — it’s there — but through that process, he tried to compensate in different ways,” Swanson said of why Trevino is having less success than he did in 2022. “We want to get him to where he was in ’22. He can be an elite thrower because he’s extremely quick with his exchange.” 

Against the Orioles on Wednesday, when Baltimore stole four times, Swanson said Trevino put up three of his hardest throws of the season. 

But because he was focused on velocity, his exchange in getting the ball from the glove to his hand wasn’t as sharp as usual. 

Baserunners have had their way with Jose Trevino lately. Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

“It came at the expense of slowing the exchange,” Swanson said. “There are going to be overcorrections.” 

While Trevino continues to return to form — and the pitching staff looks to improve holding runners on — Trevino and Austin Wells have among the worst numbers in the majors when it comes to preventing stolen bases. 

Overall, though, the tandem still has among the best advanced metrics in the majors when it comes to defensive runs saved and pitch framing. 

And even with their recent issues with steals, the Yankees entered Friday in the middle of the pack, having allowed 55 stolen bases, 17th-most in the league. 

“The end goal is keeping guys from taking off in the first place since runners have a lot of success with some of the new disengagement rules,” Swanson said. “So we’re working on the balance of getting the ball down to second as fast as possible and making sure they don’t go often.”

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