Yankees have Diamondbacks starter on their radar


While the Yankees are clearly looking to upgrade their rotation, there’s no guarantee they’ll add anyone — let alone a significant piece like San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner or Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer, which is why they could also be interested in Arizona left-hander Robbie Ray.

Tim Wilken, the Diamondbacks’ special assistant to the general manager, has been in Tampa, scouting the Yankees’ Single-A team. The Yankees and Arizona have done business in the past, such as when the Yankees acquired Brandon Drury from the Diamondbacks in spring training last year.

The 27-year-old Ray is 6-6 this season with a 3.96 ERA and has a high strikeout ratio, something the Yankees like.

But he walks plenty of hitters and is hardly dominant, meaning the Yankees and GM Brian Cashman would no doubt look to make other improvements either to their rotation or bullpen even if they landed Ray, who has also drawn interest from the Phillies.

“I think I said this before, we know we have the team capable right now of being great and we have a chance to be the best team in the world,’’ Aaron Boone said Friday before the Yankees opened the second half of the season against the Blue Jays in The Bronx. “I know Brian and his staff are gonna look around every corner where there’s opportunities to improve our club. Whether those come to fruition or not remains to be seen.”

But Boone isn’t holding his breath for Cashman to make a move.

“Our job is down here on the field, putting our best foot forward,’’ Boone said. “Sometimes it surprises you where you can improve your club. And it takes two to tango to matchup. We’ll see if something transpires over the next few weeks.”

That will largely be determined by what Cashman decides before the July 31 trade deadline, now more important since MLB enacted a rule this season that no trades will be allowed following that date.

“We’re going to target starting pitching, and then if not, continue to try to reinforce the bullpen,” Cashman said on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio on Friday.

But Cashman doesn’t want to make a move simply to make a move, noting that he expects all of the American League contenders to look different by next month.

“Houston’s gonna get better,’’ Cashman said. “Tampa’s gonna get better. Boston’s gonna get better. Minnesota’s gonna get better. Oakland’s gonna get better. … A lot of the players in the mix are in the similar category of quality, so there’s going to be a number of choices out there.”

Additions could also come from within, as the Yankees still expect Luis Severino to return from the lat strain that has derailed his season.

Cashman said the right-hander would be examined on Saturday and could begin a throwing program shortly thereafter.

He also acknowledged that Severino might not be fully built up in time to be a full-time starter the rest of the way and he didn’t rule out using Severino out of the bullpen, where the team still hopes Dellin Betances will be by September.

Cashman added that Deivi Garcia, the prospect just promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, is “pushing himself into the mix’’ with the Yankees.

Though opposing scouts also love the right-hander, Cashman said he would not move Garcia for a rental that would be a free agent following the season.

“I can’t predict yet with confidence what’s gonna happen,’’ Cashman said of the upcoming deadline.

— Additional reporting by Ken Davidoff and George A. King III