As you’ll hear if you listen to the audio of Joe Girardi’s press conference, the manager didn’t even wait for a question to announce the news that Javier Vazquez is returning to the rotation. Jason Zillo asked who wanted to start and Girardi said, “Why don’t I start?” before telling the media that Vazquez will replace Dustin Moseley as Saturday’s starter.
Asked to explain his decision, Girardi said Dave Eiland has worked with Vazquez on his leg kick which, ostensibly, will allow Vazquez to stay “on top of” his pitches more effectively. Girardi pointed to how Vazquez responded to being skipped earlier this season as an encouraging sign (in addition to the crispness he’s shown in his last two relief outings) and said, “I don’t sense that he’ll need another one of these” when asked if he was concerned about Vazquez twice needing extra time off to get his velocity back.
That doesn’t mean, however, that Girardi is committing to this particular version of his rotation. Phil Hughes has innings limits; A.J. Burnett has been (incredibly) erratic; Andy Pettitte is throwing a bullpen session as I write this and his health remains a question mark. There are, obviously, a number of moving pieces.
“We might skip someone at some point or we might give a guy a shorter outing at some point,” Girardi said. “This is not permanent. I’m just saying this is what we’re going to do now.”
• Much like some of you asked during today’s live chat – go here to watch a replay of it – Girardi was asked about the possibility of Derek Jeter being moved down in the order. His answer, essentially, was a variation on “don’t hold your breath.”
“I don’t see it happening,” Girardi said. “We still see him as a top of the order guy.”
• Is A.J. Burnett pitching for his job at all tonight? “That’s not a thought in my mind,” Girardi said. “A.J. is a guy that we need, and we need him to pitch at a high level so it’s important that we get him going.”
• Brett Gardner is just getting a day off; look for Curtis Granderson to get one soon, too.
• Alfredo Aceves will throw for Trenton tomorrow and, performance-wise, “he’s just not up to where we believe he can be yet,” Girardi said. In other injury news, Lance Berkman was activated, Damaso Marte was shifted to the 60-day DL and Nick Johnson is still out for the year.
• For those interested in locker-room geography, Greg Golson and Jonathan Albaladejo are now set up on the right-hand wall right when you come in the door to the clubhouse, near where Aceves’s locker is. There’s an empty locker next to Golson which, one imagines, will be used for another call-up at some point. Chad Moeller is across the room, on the left side, in between Gardner and Austin Kearns. He’s actually using Johnson’s old locker.
Here’s the audio from Girardi: