NEW YORK — Yankees manager Aaron Boone lost a fourth member of his staff when New York announced that first base coach and outfield instructor Reggie Willits will leave at the end of the year to become a volunteer assistant for Oklahoma’s college baseball program.
A native of Chickasha, Oklahoma, Willits played for Oklahoma in 2002-03 and coached Binger-Oney High School to Oklahoma state championships in 2013-14.
A former major leaguer, Willits had been with the Yankees for seven years, the first three as minor league outfield and base-running coordinator and the last four as first base coach and outfield instructor.
Following the Yankees’ loss to Boston in the AL wild-card game, the team fired third base coach Phil Nevin, hitting coach Marcus Thames and assistant hitting coach P.J. Pilittere.
Others on the staff are Matt Blake (pitching), Carlos Mendoza (bench), Mike Harkey (bullpen), Tanner Swanson (quality control and catching), Radley Haddad (bullpen catcher and coaching assistant) and Brett Weber (coaching assistant and replay coordinator).
CINCINNATI — The Los Angeles Dodgers placed pitcher Noah Syndergaard on the 15-day injured list Thursday with a blister on the index finger of his right throwing hand.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the timetable for Syndergaard’s return is unknown despite the 15-day designation.
“The physical, the mental, the emotional part, as he’s talked about, has taken a toll on him,” Roberts said. “So, the ability to get him away from this. He left today to go back to Los Angeles to kind of get back to normalcy.”
Syndergaard allowed six runs and seven hits in three innings against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night, raising his ERA to 7.16.
Syndergaard (1-4) has surrendered at least five runs in three straight starts.
Syndergaard has been trying to return to the player he was before Tommy John surgery sidelined him for the better part of the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
Roberts said Syndergaard will need at least “a few weeks” to both heal and get away from baseball and “reset.”
“I think searching and not being comfortable with where he was at in the moment is certainly evident in performance,” Roberts said. “So hopefully this time away will provide more clarity on who he is right now as a pitcher.
“Trying to perform when you’re searching at this level is extremely difficult. I applaud him from not running from it, but it’s still very difficult. Hopefully it can be a tale of two stories, two halves when he does come back.”