Yankees kick Sonny Gray to bullpen | What it means

The New York Yankees kicked the struggling Sonny Gray out of the rotation before a game against the Red Sox on Thursday at Fenway Park.

BOSTON — The Yankees had enough.

After watching the worst start of Sonny Gray‘s big-league career Wednesday, the Yankees kicked him to the bullpen Thursday afternoon, manager Aaron Boone said at Fenway Park before the start of a series with the Red Sox.

Why: Gray gave up seven earned runs in ugly 2 2/3 innings against the Orioles, maybe the weakest lineup in baseball. He laughed while getting booed walking off the mound. He’d been better in his previous four starts — all against mostly bad teams — but the right-hander had been a huge disappointment since the Yankees acquired him from the A’s before last year’s trade deadline. In 32 starts with the Yankees, Gray has a 4.85 ERA. This season, he’s 8-8 with a 5.56 ERA in 21 starts.

Why call up Cessa, Voit?

Who takes Gray’s spot: Lance Lynn, acquired from the Twins before the deadline, will jump into the Yankees’ rotation. The Yankees hoped to stick Lynn in the bullpen to take the spot vacated by the Adam Warren trade. But that won’t happen Lynn threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Gray on Wednesday. He was 7-8 with a 5.10 ERA in 20 starts for Minnesota. Lynn, 31, was an All-Star in 2012.

What Gray said: He was asked if he simply can’t handle pitching in New York. “I’ve struggled. I don’t know if it has anything to do with New York or it’s just strictly on the field,” Gray said.

What Boone said: “He’s been a very good starting pitcher before,” Boone said. “He’s 28 years old, in theory, the prime of his career. The stuff that we see, really, each outing, suggest he’s more than capable. I think he’s just having a hard time being consistent with that. … there’s nothing that we’ve seen and I’ve told Sonny this, we’re not talking to a 34-year-old that’s been hurt and broken down … “

What general manager Brian Cashman said: Cashman talked to The Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio: “We certainly expected more and better and certainly he did, too. … In fairness, there’s no question that Sonny Gray, I think teams look at and say, ‘All right, we have somebody who’s struggling in this environment, in New York,’ which has happend and they have gone on elsewhere to pitch effectively or return to form. We understand and see that time and time again.”

Brendan Kuty may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @BrendanKutyNJ. Find NJ.com Yankees on Facebook.

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