"I've caught him a lot down in Triple-A, so this is what I'm used to seeing from him," catcher Gary Sanchez said through an interpreter. "He had really good command today. The pitches were moving nicely. So this is what I'm used to seeing from him."
It's not what manager Joe Girardi has been used to seeing from Green, though. The 25-year-old was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Aug. 4, a day after he was pulled following 3 2/3 innings against the Mets, a start during which he surrendered three runs on eight hits.
With the RailRiders, though, Green has been brilliant. Over 16 starts this season, he's pitched to a 1.52 ERA and has recorded 100 strikeouts in 94 2/3 innings. MLBPipeline.com has him ranked as the Yankees' No. 21 prospect.
For the most part, though, his stuff hadn't translated to the Majors and his stints with the Yankees have been short.
"Each time he took his demotion the right way and said, 'OK, this is what I need to work on, and I'm going to get better,'" Girardi said.
He added: "Since we've seen him in Spring Training, his slider has improved drastically."
Green said he hasn't changed much mechanically with his slider. Rather, the transformation was more a product of improved confidence. That was apparent Monday, as four of his 11 strikeouts came on the pitch.
"Gary had a good game plan going in," Green said. "Being able to move the ball in and out and throw the offspeed for strikes."
Green was perfect through 4 1/3 innings before Troy Tulowitzki singled to left, and the righty ended the outing on five consecutive strikeouts.
"We loved his arm, that's why we traded for him," Girardi said of Green, who was acquired in an offseason deal with Detroit. "He knew that in order to make the next step we had to [work on] some things and he's made adjustments."
With Nathan Eovaldi on the disabled list and Luis Severino back to the Minors, a permanent spot in the rotation for Green is seemingly up for grabs, a fact that isn't lost on him.
"I think every time we go out there they're evaluating us," Green said. "We're always playing for the next day. I guess every time I run out there it's almost like a tryout. Just trying to take it day to day and whatever happens, happens."