Yankees shockingly starting Deivi Garcia in ALDS Game 2

Less than two months after Deivi Garcia made his first major league start, the Yankees will turn to the 21-year-old right-hander to start Game 2 of the ALDS against the Rays.

Aaron Boone finally made the announcement prior to Game 1 on Monday at Petco Park in San Diego, where the Yankees are facing Tampa Bay in the neutral site series.

With the decision, they’re bumping Masahiro Tanaka to Game 3 and pushing J.A. Happ either into the bullpen for Game 2 or potentially a start later in the series.

Boone extolled Garcia’s stuff and his mental toughness when trying to explain the move, but it’s a lot to ask of a pitcher that’s made just six starts since making his MLB debut on Aug. 30.

“The way he’s pitched and the way he’s handled himself and handled every situation so far,” Boone said about why the team went with the inexperienced Garcia over Happ or Jordan Montgomery.

“We just felt like we had a lot of good options there and ways we could have gone … I don’t worry about him not being able to handle it mentally and emotionally.’’

Garcia impressed after being called up from the team’s alternate site. He finished the regular season with a 4.98 ERA in 34 1/3 innings and pitched well in his final outing against the Marlins after a rough start in Boston.

Still, it’s a sizable risk for the Yankees, especially with the way Happ pitched during the latter part of the 60-game regular season.

During a six-start stretch just prior to his final outing of the season, Happ had a 1.93 ERA.

As Boone said Monday of Happ: “After his first two starts of the season, he’s been as good a starter as we’ve had and we feel that confidence with him moving forward.”

Boone said both Happ and Montgomery will play important roles both in the ALDS and in future series if the Yankees advance, but there’s no guarantee Happ will get a start.

It was a difficult season at times for Happ, who expressed disappointment — and more — at times with having his starts skipped in what he felt was an attempt by the Yankees to prevent a $17 million option for next season from kicking in.

Asked about Happ’s reaction on Tuesday, Boone said he handled it “like a pro.”

“He’ll be ready,’’ the manager said. “He’s answered the bell every time, whether he’s been disappointed or whatever. It’s obviously not affected his pitching.”

The Yankees could use Garcia for a short outing and then quickly turn to Happ or Montgomery.

“We’ll just see how it’s rolling,’’ Boone said of how he’ll handle the game. “We’re sort of in an all hands on deck situation, even though we’re just getting started in the series. We’ll do what we’ve got to do to try to win ball games.”

Garcia said he found out he would get the early-series start on Monday.

“Just being around the guys here, you start to understand there is a chance you might have to assume the responsibility of taking the ball,’’ Garcia said through an interpreter. “This level of competition brings the best out of me.”

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