It’s been just seven days since Javier Vazquez was knocked out of the Yankees rotation. He’s already making a case that he should be back in it. This was a two-run slugfest when Vazquez came into tonight’s game. He shutdown the Oakland lineup while the Yankees lineup kept hitting. That’s why this thing became a lopsided blowout.
In two relief appearances since being banished, Vazquez has pitched nine innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He’s struck out eight.
“When the decision was made I was disappointed,” Vazquez said. “I’ve always been a starter. I would love to be in the rotation, but if they feel like I can help the team in the bullpen, that’s fine by me.”
As Joe Girardi said during his postgame press conference, he had “just walked in the door” when he was asked whether Vazquez had put himself into contention to rejoin the rotation. Girardi couldn’t have decided anything in those few minutes, but he seemed to know the question was coming.
“This is a continued evaluation process,” he siad. “But right now we’re on rotation.”
There is a slight mechanical adjustment that seems to be helping Vazquez’s fastball. When he lifts his left leg in his delivery, Vazquez is bringing the leg farther back. It’s not more of a twist, he said, and the leg’s not coming up any higher, it’s just coming a little farther back toward second base.
“The arm angle also has to play a part of it, but (pitching coach Dave Eiland) feels like that’s going to give me better momentum, and it has,” Vazquez said. “The ball was true to where I wanted it to be.”
The ball has been true ever since the Yankees pushed Vazquez out of the rotation, and given the uncertain nature of every Yankees starter except CC Sabathia, it’s hard to rule out another Vazquez move before the end of the season.
Here’s Javy talking after the game.
• Alex Rodriguez came through his pregame workout just fine. “We’ll just continue to try to increase it a little bit every day,” Girardi said. “I’m not sure if he’ll do anything on the field tomorrow as far as hitting, but he came through today ok.”
• Same for Mark Teixeira and his bruised right hand. “Bone bruises just get slowly better,” Teixeira said. “It’s a little sore now and maybe in the next couple of days it will get a little bit better. We play with a little soreness all the time… I woke up this morning feeling really good and called Kevin Long right away.”
• Jorge Posada’s take on Vazquez: “He belongs in the rotation. He understands that, and today was another step.”
• Girardi’s take on Dustin Moseley: “Mose was just kind of struggling a little bit today. I didn’t think his stuff was quite as sharp. He was in long counts all night and so I decided to make the change.”
• Teixeira and Robinson Cano tonight: 6-for-7 with six runs, one double, two home runs and four RBI. Cano’s 26th homer of the season gave him a career-high this year. Cano has homered in five of his past seven home games. He’s seven RBI shy of a career high.
• Not much more to say about Marcus Thames. The guy has been a beast with a home run in each of his past five starts. Tonight’s was a real blast into the second deck. “I saw a little bit of it,” he said. “I got it good. I’m just trying not to miss my pitch.”
• Ramiro Pena has a hit in seven of his past 10 starts. He also has five RBI in those 10 starts.
• Vazquez has 11 straight 10-win seasons.
• Lance Berkman was 2-for-5 with a run scored in his first rehab game with Double-A Trenton. He was the designated hitter.
• Alfredo Aceves allowed one run on two hits through an inning and a third for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He threw 33 pitches, 21 for strikes. That’s a better outing than his previous two.
• Joba Chamberlain was not available tonight, and the Yankees were trying to avoid using Boone Logan and Kerry Wood.
• The championship belt was in Vazquez’s locker.
Associated Press photos of Vazquez and Swisher