TAMPA — Kyle Higashioka has waited a long time to be a regular backup catcher in the big leagues, and the Yankees letting Austin Romine split for the Tigers via free agency provided Higashioka with that chance.

Known for his defensive prowess, especially pitch framing, Higashioka homered twice Thursday in the Yankees’ 15-11 loss to the Tigers at a very windy Joker Marchant Stadium.


Yankees pitchers allowed nine homers and 17 hits. In addition to Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery giving up four homers each, Luis Cessa was victimized by the Tigers for three runs and four hits in two innings.


Miguel Andujar’s first start at first base included a catchable throw between his ankles and shins being dropped, but there was no excuse offered.

“I just dropped it,” he said. “Just part of the game. I dropped the ball.’’


Deivi Garcia starts for the Yankees against the Orioles in a Friday night game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. It will be the right-handed prospect’s second start of the spring.