Joe Girardi isn’t prone to overstatement. Take Sunday, when he disagreed with the notion that Nick Johnson had been too passive, saying he hoped Johnson kept relying on what returned him to the Yankees in the first place, his renowned selectivity.
So it was at least a little noteworthy yesterday when even Girardi said it is time for Javier Vazquez to produce.
“You want to see him get a win under his belt and start pitching like he’s accustomed to doing,” Girardi said. “So, yes, it is somewhat of a big start.”
Vazquez is the biggest worry at the moment for the Yankees, which is a nice luxury to have. He expects to alleviate those concerns soon, and said that a common mechanical issue has been the main culprit in his poor start (0-2, 9.82 ERA).
Vazquez said he has dragged his arm behind his body, causing his ball to sail rather than sink. “That’s my key,” he said.
The subject of his pedestrian velocity was brought up as well. Vazquez’s fastball has hovered around 89-90. He said it will normally reside in the 91-93 range, and maybe even top out at 94.
His explanation was that he’s still building arm strength. The difference before the 2009 season was he pitched winter ball and competed for team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.
“My arm was in better shape last April,” he said. “But this is something that happened to me in the past, then all of a sudden you start throwing hard.”
There’s a lot more with Vazquez from the audio file below. He discusses why he didn’t think the escape from the Bronx would help him pitch better. He also touched on how Yankee fans booed Derek Jeter when he played here in 2004, so boos are to be expected until he pitches better.
I’ll have a story on Vazquez in tomorrow’s paper and on the web. For now, here’s more from Javy: