Joe Girardi made it clear today that most of the young starters in camp are here to be seen by the Major League staff, not necessarily carried on the Major League roster. One of them could make a surprising run at the big league rotation, but for the most part this appears to be an open competition between four guys.
“My expectations are pretty much the same for all these guys,” Girardi said. “They know how to do it, and you know they know how to do it. It’s just a matter of getting it done.”
The great unknown of this group, Colon has not pitched in the Major Leagues since July of 2009. He hasn’t thrown more than 100 big league innings since he won the Cy Young award in 2005.
Girardi: “The Bartolo Colon that I knew, that I saw pitch, had outstanding command. He knew how to move the baseball around and pitched a lot off his fastball. In the little bit that I’ve seen here at spring training, he still has that command. Not pitching in 18 months, how many innings could you expect from him? I’m not quite sure.”
The most recent addition, Garcia signed a minor league deal late this winter. He went 12-6 with a 4.64 ERA with the White Sox last season. He allowed more than four earned runs in five of his 28 starts.
Girardi: “I’ve seen Freddy pitch against us a couple times and have a pretty good understanding of what he likes to do to us. Watching Freddy, Freddy competes. That’s the best way I can describe Freddy Garcia. He finds a way to get it done.”
Technically a rotation candidate last spring, he had a 3.27 ERA in spring training — which kept his name in the discussion — before landing in the bullpen as a long reliever and spot starter. He had a 3.33 ERA last season.
Girardi: “He’s going to start some games. He was very good when he started last year in the competition (in spring training). He threw the ball extremely well. He threw the ball pretty decent for us, so he’s going to have some starts.”
Generally considered a favorite for one spot, Nova made seven starts late last season and finished with a 4.50 ERA. He was generally dominant in the early innings, but struggled past the fourth. He had a 2.86 ERA in Triple-A.
Girardi: “Go back to his first start against Toronto: He had the bases loaded and nobody out, and he ended up giving up one run. To me, I saw a lot of poise there. I saw a guy that didn’t panic when he was in the midst of something. That showed me a lot… We just have to see him take it over from what he learned last year and make steps.”
Associated Press photos of Colon and Nova