Out of spring training, the Yankees settled on a rotation without Bartolo Colon. They weren’t sure he could hold up through a starter’s workload, and they liked the idea of using Colon as a versatile reliever. At this point, though, the rotation has been a weakness, and after last night, the Yankees could be tempted to stick with Colon beyond this fill-in duty.
“Obviously you don’t want to take him out of the rotation if he can continue to do this,” Joe Girardi said. “Our concern was innings, and it’s something we have to be cognizant of, I believe, and watch him closely. If you’re going to throw the ball well, you’re going to get the ball.”
The Yankees don’t know yet whether Phil Hughes has made significant progress with his arm strength, and giving Colon a second start is a no-brainer.
But if Colon pitches like this again, the Yankees might have to consider keeping him beyond Hughes’ DL stint. Even on a limited pitch count, Colon pitched into the seventh inning, giving the Yankees more depth than they’re used to seeing. CC Sabathia has pitched into the seventh twice, A.J. Burnett has done it once, and no other starter has lasted beyond the sixth inning.
It’s one start, so it’s hard to make too much of it, but Colon has pitched well since spring training. As my good friend Mark Feinsand pointed out, Colon has pitched more than twice as many innings as Freddy Garcia, the guy who got a rotation spot because of his durability. Hughes remains on the DL, Ivan Nova has not pitched well, and Colon might be emerging as one of the Yankees five best starters.
“There are some (concerns about durability) and that’s something we’ll watch,” Girardi said. “We’ll continue to watch the movement on his fastball and the location and his velocity, but he’s not showing any signs of fatigue, and he’s worked pretty regular here.”
As for Colon?
“I feel like I can go every five days,” he said.
Associated Press photo