Joey Gallo homers after saying he wants to remain a Yankee

PITTSBURGH — Aaron Boone and Hal Streinbrenner both offered words of encouragement for Joey Gallo on Wednesday, but the struggling outfielder knows his year-long slump might lead him to be traded — but he’s still hoping to figure it out in The Bronx.

“I’m aware of that possibility,’’ Gallo said of potentially getting dealt before the Aug. 2 trade deadline. “I’ve been in the league a while and I understand if you’re not performing, things can change quick. For me, I don’t see myself being anywhere else. I think we have a great team here with great chemistry. We’ve got the best record in baseball and I don’t envision myself anywhere else. I want to be here.”

Gallo helped his cause with a 426-foot homer and two walks in six plate appearances Wednesday night in a 16-0 rout of the Pirates at PNC Park. It was his first home run — and RBI — since June 17.

Steinbrenner said during a Zoom call the Yankees hadn’t determined their plans for the trade deadline, adding that he was willing to consider anything brought to him by Cashman — even if it meant giving up top prospects or increasing payroll.

Joey Gallo belts a solo home run in the sixth inning of the Yankees' 16-0 blowout win over the Pirates.
Joey Gallo belts a solo home run in the sixth inning of the Yankees’ 16-0 blowout win over the Pirates.
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Gallo will no doubt be a topic of conversation.

“Look, he’s grinding it out,’’ Steinbrenner said of Gallo, who entered Wednesday with a .165 average, which would have been the worst in the majors if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. And his OPS of .602 would have been worse than all but 10 hitters in the majors.

“He’s got the support of all of us, including his teammates,” Steinbrenner said. “It’s been difficult for him, there’s no doubt about it. But there’s a lot of bball to be had this season. We’re gonna see. I still expect great things out of him.”

Prior to Wednesday, Gallo had gone 1-for-32 with no extra-base hits, six walks and 18 strikeouts in 38 plate appearances in 13 games.

“I think it’s been a challenge,’’ Boone said. “Because the struggles he’s had have weighed on him.”

Asked if Gallo’s performance as a Yankee is “who he is,” Boone said, “I’m not saying that. The talent is too real. It didn’t go away. He has tremendous skills and work ethic and you never want to close that door. … This game has beaten him up here this year and the back half of last year.”

Gallo said the team was still having success, but added: “You don’t want them to think, ‘This guy is not playing well and do we need to move on?’ I just want to help the team win. There are three sides of baseball: baserunning, defense and offense and I haven’t done one of those well this year. I don’t want to be the one holding this team down.”

Gallo was in left field Wednesday, while Matt Carpenter got his first start in the outfield. Carpenter’s bat has forced Boone to put him in the lineup, even with no room in the infield or at DH.

Anthony Rizzo sat for a second straight game with lower back stiffness. Boone said the first baseman felt improvement, though the manager added he didn’t expect Rizzo to play Thursday in Boston.

Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless inning for a second straight night.

“I just wanted to get him back out there,’’ Boone said. “[Tuesday] was a really good outing for him and we wanted to build on it. … He wasn’t throwing as hard tonight, but he was throwing it where he wanted to. Hope that builds momentum.”

Manny Bañuelos, who was traded to Pittsburgh for cash after the Yankees designated him for assignment, made his debut with the Pirates on Wednesday and was pounded by his old team for five earned runs in a third of an inning.

Before the game, Bañuelos said it was “tough’’ to get designated before being traded.

“To be honest, I understand the process,’’ said Bañuelos, who is out of minor league options. “With the Yankees, I understood the situation and knew I probably wasn’t in the plans with them.”

He also appreciated the fact he finally got to pitch at Yankee Stadium with the Yankees after his career had been sidetracked by injuries.

“It was one of my dreams and I made it,’’ Bañuelos said. “I did it a different way, but I did it.”

Miguel Castro returned from the paternity list and Ryan Weber was designated for assignment.

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