Rain could halt Cessa’s start for Yankees against Tigers

Luis Cessa could fill in for New York Yankees veteran starter C.C. Sabathia on Saturday if the weather cooperates.

Cessa, who has made two scoreless relief appearances this season, is scheduled to start the second game of a three-game series in Detroit. However, the weather forecast is ominous and could force manager Aaron Boone to alter his rotation once again.

Sabathia is on the 10-day disabled list because of a right hip strain, but he’s recovering quickly and could be activated for a start against Florida on Tuesday.

Cessa was previously Tigers‘ property before he was traded to the Yankees in 2015. He has a 4.54 ERA in 14 career starts. The 26-year-old right-hander faced the Tigers once before in a relief appearance, allowing a run in two innings.

The Yankees won the first game 8-6 behind Aaron Hicks, who hit two homers, including one inside the park.

“You don’t get to see that pay too often,” outfielder Aaron Judge told the YES Network. “When you do, it’s a pretty exciting play. It was pretty cool to watch.”

Hicks just came off the 10-day DL on Thursday after recovering from an intercostal strain.

“He’s got power from both sides of the plate,” Judge said. “He’s a Gold Glove center fielder. He’s just incredible. A big batter and he gets us going no matter where he is in the lineup, top or bottom, and you saw that (Friday).”

The Yankees (7-7) lost five of their previous seven games.

The Tigers (4-9) have lost five straight and haven’t ventured out of the Midwest, where chilly and rainy weather has gripped the area for weeks.

“This is a tough time of the year, when the weather’s cold and all the stuff we’ve been going through, it’s difficult,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “You’re trying to give everybody a shot to play, so they’re not sitting for too long, so there’s a lot to it.”

Scheduled starter Francisco Liriano (1-1, 2.13 ERA) pitched well in his first two outings for the Tigers after signing a one-year, $4 million contract as a free agent.

The 34-year-old left-hander held Kansas City to one run in 6 2/3 innings and Cleveland to two runs in six innings. In 12 career outings against the Yankees, including 10 starts, he has a 4-4 record and 3.34 ERA.

Liriano may have to wait at least a day to make his third Detroit start.

“We all know it’s going to rain,” Gardenhire said. “We can’t control that, either. All we’re going to do is come here and prepare the best we can and see if we play the ballgames.”

The Tigers finally showed some signs of life offensively after scoring a total of five runs while getting swept in a four-game series at Cleveland earlier this week.

They got a big night from catcher James McCann, who had three RBIs, and rallied from an 8-3 deficit to pull within two runs in the eighth inning but couldn’t finish off the comeback.

“We got behind early and made a couple of mistakes,” Gardenhire said. “They kept competing and we had opportunities there at the end off a pretty good bullpen. We put some nice swings on it and unfortunately, we came up short, which is really frustrating.”