Bartolo Colon has outpitched Freddy Garcia this spring. It that weren’t obvious before tonight, six innings of two-hit, one-run ball from Colon surely removed any doubt. Thing is, the Yankees are weighing more than spring training numbers in choosing their fourth and fifth starters.
“I know what Freddy is,” Brian Cashman said. “I’ve seen it. He is what he is. I know what he is. Bartolo is a little bit more of a newbie in the fact that, alright, this guy is really showing us a lot of good stuff and it’s nice to see, but is it enough? Have we seen enough? Is the comfort level there?”
Colon hasn’t pitched in a year in a half. He’s 37 years old and reported to camp admittedly 25 to 30 pounds overweight. Pitching well in March is no guarantee he’ll pitch well in April, and it’s certainly no guarantee he’ll hold up through June and July.
“(The weight) is somewhat of a concern because of his stamina and if we get into the dog days, how his body holds up,” Joe Girardi said. “It hasn’t been cool here and he seems to bounce back well from day to day. In Anaheim, I’m not sure what weight he pitched at, but he was fairly large there too.”
Ultimately, there’s no way the Yankees will have enough information to make a risk-free decision. They have one week before Girardi’s self-imposed roster deadline of March 28. At that point they’ll have to do the best they can with what they have.
“We’ve all been deceived in March before,” Cashman said. “But we’ve also been rewarded with March before. You go through the motions. You put the work in. You see what you see in the games, and you have to make a call. And you hope it’s going to be the right call. We might be picking the right guy, we might be picking the wrong guy. Just have to wait and see.”
Here’s Yankees catcher Russell Martin talking about what he’s seeing from Colon. Safe to say, he’s been impressed.
• It doesn’t sound serious, but Eric Chavez has been shutdown for a few days with spasms in his right calf. Girardi said Chavez won’t play again until Friday. “I didn’t see a lot of concern from him,” Girardi said. As of right now, no tests are scheduled.
• Including the sixth inning, Colon was consistently throwing 91-93 with his fastball. Martin said he also mixed in more cutters than usual, which worked as an effective combination with the two-seamer. He had to throw another 18 to 20 pitches in the bullpen after the game.
• Here’s Martin on Colon: “His command is what has impressed me the most. He throws so many strikes. It almost gets to the point where, when we get ahead 0-2, you almost want to expand a little bit more than he has. Guys are swinging because he is throwing so many strikes. If there is any adjustment to make, it would just be maybe throwing a little less quality pitches with two strikes and maybe expanding a little more.”
• After a streak of eight scoreless innings, Manny Banuelos allowed a solo home run to Dan Johnson in the seventh inning. He responded by striking out B.J. Upton in the very next at-bat. Banuelos took the loss tonight, allowing two runs on three hits through two innings.
• Another minor injury: Ramiro Pena has a sort left shoulder and had it iced after the game, but he said it’s a non-issue. Girardi described it as normal spring training soreness.
• Tomorrow in Sarasota, Joba Chamberlain will pitch for the first time since March 11. “He felt he’s been over it since it started,” Cashman said. “He’s like, ‘I feel fine, I feel fine.’ I’m glad that the trainers are ready to place him in a game situation now. Next thing you know — knock on wood — if it all goes well, you forget that he had to be pushed back a little bit.”
• Cashman said Freddy Garcia’s upcoming outing on Thursday’s off day will be a minor league start.
• More or less echoing Cashman’s comments, Girardi said he doesn’t expect to learn anything from Garcia’s minor league outing this week. “For us, not a whole lot,” Girardi said. “I think we have a pretty good idea what Freddy can do.”
• Brett Gardner is off tomorrow, but Girardi said he expects to have Gardner leading off and Jeter batting second the next two times they play together. “We’re starting to play them together and we’re trying to see what it looks like,” he said. “You’ll probably see that again on Friday too, and Wednesday.”
• Girardi said this afternoon that he had absolutely no idea how Mariano Rivera did in his minor league outing this morning. “We’re not really worried about him,” Girardi said. “If something went wrong, I would have known.” Rivera went two innings, three hits and two strikeouts.
Associated Press photos