Well, that was much ado about nothing. After telling the media at his pregame press conference that he would have an announcement regarding the Yankees rotation after today’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, manager Joe Girardi dropped the bombshell.
He’s staying with a six-man rotation.
“We’re going to go another time through,” Girardi said. “I’m allowed to change my mind; that’s why I don’t make instant decisions… We want to see it again. We liked what we saw from our guys.”
Girardi is referring to the starts from Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett this past week in Boston. Neither was overly impressive — Hughes allowed six earned runs, while Burnett couldn’t even make it out of the sixth inning — but he felt that they showed enough to warrant at least one more go-around.
“We thought some guys made some progress when we went to Boston,” Girardi said. “We just figured that there’s no rush to make that decision… In talking about it with our coaches and Cash, we just said, ‘Let’s go through it again and see what happens.’ ”
I’m sure many of you are getting tired of the same old debate, which keeps leading to the same old solution. But I wouldn’t be surprised if a decision never gets made. With only 24 games remaining, Girardi was asked if the rotation could possibly remain six deep until the end of the season.
“I’m not going to say no,” he replied.
He seemed to be very encouraged by Burnett’s most recent start. Despite having only one win since June 29, Girardi thinks he’s getting back on track.
“I loved what I saw from AJ in Boston,” he said. “What makes it even more incredible to me is, here’s a guy who’s fighting for a spot. There’s been discussions that he might come out of the rotation, he had a tough August, and he said, ‘You know what? I’m going to try new mechanics for the first time against the Boston Red Sox.’ That takes a lot of guts. He went out and did it, and threw a really good game for us, which makes me really curious. If you give him another few times with it, does it get even better?”
Whether it gets better remains to be seen. But this much is certain: After Freddy Garcia’s start against Baltimore tomorrow, Hughes will start on Tuesday, followed by Burnett on Wednesday.
We know they’re safe for at least one more episode of, “As the Rotation Turns.”
Here’s some more notes from the Yankees 9-3 win over the Blue Jays:
• For those who are concerned with CC Sabathia’s workload, it’s worth noting that he got stronger as the game went on. He put some runners on early, but didn’t allow it to get out of hand. By the end of the fourth inning, he began to cruise. He retired 10 straight batters, picking up his 19th win while striking out 10. He now sits just two strikeouts away from 2,000 for his career. “I feel strong; I feel good,” Sabathia said. “The ball is coming out of my hand good, and my arm feels good… I felt I had good command. I threw the ball where I wanted to.”
• I have to admit, I made a rookie mistake. I recorded the entire interview with Derek Jeter, who tied a career-high with five RBI, but I accidentally deleted it while trying to record A-Rod. An amateur move, but you live and you learn. I do remember Jeter stating that the fact that he pulled his third-inning home run off of Brett Cecil meant nothing. He simply feels good, and has been staying back on the ball since his return from the DL. One reporter pointed out that he has a .371 batting average this season after a day off, and he seemed to take exception to that. Then, when asked what’s been the biggest key to his recent success, he remarked (with a smile), “Day’s off.”
• Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher also homered for the Yanks. It was clear when A-Rod hit his that he wasn’t happy, but the ball still got out over the right field wall. “It was a fly ball to right,” Rodriguez said. “I got very lucky that ball sailed over the fence. I couldn’t believe that.”
• Rookie Jesus Montero picked up his first career multi-hit game, just one day after notching his first career hit. Both hits were singles through the left side, but his second was a hard hit liner. “The first base hit for every hitter in the big leagues is always a little tough,” Montero said. “You have it on your mind. After that, I was like, ‘Okay, finally.’ Today I felt more comfortable at the plate.”
• I was surprised to see CC come out for the eighth inning after her had reached 107 pitches in the seventh. He threw 128 in his last start, and Girardi said that if not for that, he would have let him go even further. “That was the reason that I didn’t let him continue,” Girardi said. “I probably would have let him throw to a couple more hitters.”
• Interesting stat here: Jose Bautista, a leading MVP candidate in the AL, is 0-for-18 in his career against Sabathia. “Somebody tell me how to get (Marco) Scutaro out, and I’ll tell you why he’s 0-for-18. It’s just one of those things.”
• With as well as the Yankees have been playing, Girardi says he plays to rest at least one regular everyday moving forward. Today, it was Curtis Granderson.
• With the Red Sox’ 11-4 loss to Texas, the Yankees are now 1 1/2 games ahead in the AL East. They’ve won four straight, and seven of eight. They are a season-high 32 games over .500.
It was a fun first day! Thanks for all of the support, and to all of my new Twitter followers! I’ll be back tomorrow…