In a season full of Plan B's for the injury-plagued Yankees rotation, Shane Greene was called up two weeks ago as one such solution. In his two starts since, the rookie has made the case that he can be more than that for the men in pinstripes this season.
Greene has combined to allow just two runs over 13 1/3 innings while carrying a no-hitter through 4 2/3 innings in each outing. The right-hander's last start -- a shutout that lasted 7 1/3 frames -- saw him walk off the mound to a standing ovation, and with that performance he became the first Yankees pitcher to work at least six innings and allow four hits or fewer in each of his first two Major League starts.
"It was awesome, for sure," said Greene. "It means a lot. It means a lot that I got the opportunity, and it means a lot that I can come up here and help the team win."
Greene will look to keep his spotless record intact on Monday, when he takes the hill against the struggling Rangers in the first of a four-game set in New York. The Yankees will enter that contest coming off a three-game sweep of the Reds at Yankee Stadium, after entering the series on a season-high five-game home losing streak.
"I think it's everyone involved," manager Joe Girardi said of his club's 21-23 home record. "It's a team effort, because there's gonna be days where pitchers struggle a little bit. They pick them up offensively, so I think it's everyone. It's gonna take everyone in that clubhouse to play better at home."
The Rangers have had little success of late regardless of where the game is played, having gone 2-14 in July, and they own the worst record in the Majors (39-59). Young right-hander Miles Mikolas (0-2, 10.05 ERA) will make his fourth start of the season for Texas after surrendering five runs (four earned) in 5 2/3 innings against the Angels in his last outing.
Mikolas worked five frames of one-run baseball before hitting a wall in the Halos' four-run sixth inning.
"He had 68 pitches going into the sixth inning; he was throwing well," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I pull him out right there, what do I have to do? Get four more innings out of my bullpen? No, he's got to figure out a way to get through that."
Yankees: Beltran trying to return to field
Carlos Beltran has served exclusively as a designated hitter since hyperextending his right elbow in May. However, the veteran could make his return to the outfield in the near future, now that he has begun another throwing program. This would free up the Yankees to use other everyday players in the DH spot.
Beltran attempted to resume throwing last month, but the program was shut down after he began experiencing forearm tightness.
"It is what it is," Beltran said. "I have to come to the ballpark and focus on the things that I can control right now, and right now I'm not playing in the outfield, so I cannot be thinking about that. I've got to be thinking about [how] DH-ing is my job, and I need to just focus on that."
The 37-year-old Beltran has dealt with injury issues for much of the season, including right knee swelling and facial fractures that landed him on the seven-day concussion disabled list.
Rangers: Rios could return Tuesday
Outfielder Alex Rios was kept out of the Texas starting lineup on Sunday due to a sprained right ankle.
Rios suffered the injury during the first inning of Saturday's game with the Blue Jays, when he rolled his ankle while swinging at a pitch from starter Marcus Stroman. Washington decided to remove him from the game, but the Rangers skipper felt optimistic about Rios' chances of returning to the field by Tuesday.
"His ankle is much better than it was [Saturday] when he left [the game]," Washington said. "Get the swelling out of there a little more. Get treatment the whole day [Sunday], probably get treatment all day on Monday."
Rios has appeared in 96 games this season, which is second only to Elvis Andrus among Rangers players.
• Rangers utility man Jim Adduci could return from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Round Rock when the team travels to New York on Monday, according to Washington. Adduci, who re-broke a fractured pinkie finger in June, has not suited up for Texas since April 17.
• The Yankees' bullpen leads the Majors with 352 strikeouts and 10.56 strikeouts per nine innings this season. Dellin Betances leads all American League relievers with 88 punchouts.
Alex Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.