There’s nothing left to prove in Yankees camp. All that’s left is to stay healthy and make one last decision.
And it’s a decision that might not last long.
When Andy Pettitte is ready for the big leagues — or Michael Pineda for that matter – the Yankees Opening Day long man might be the easy choice to remove from the roster and send down to Triple-A. This job might be a temporary, one-month assignment, but it’s a job. And it’s a big league job, so it matters.
Joe Girardi has made it clear that the choice is between Adam Warren, David Phelps and D.J. Mitchell, three guys who – until a few days ago – never seemed to have a real chance of making this roster.
“We always looked at it as a possibility they were in competition for that spot,” Girardi said. “That’s how we viewed it, and that’s why we made a real focus to build them up because when we talked about this rotation thing, we talked about that there were a couple of options. Someone could go into the bullpen, or someone could go down (to Triple-A). If someone had gone down, then the long-man spot would have been open. So we’ve always kind of looked at that as those three guys competing. Maybe we didn’t make it quite so evident to everyone else and to them, but they’ve all done a pretty good job.”
Warren struggled in Kissimmee on Saturday, and as the only option who’s not currently on the 40-man, he was probably the long shot of the bunch. That leaves Phelps and Mitchell, each of whom has looked pretty sharp this spring. Their numbers are actually pretty similar.
Phelps: 16 IP, 4 BB, 12 K, 2.25 ERA, .238 OBA
Mitchell: 14.1 IP, 8 BB, 12 K, 2.51 ERA, .200 OBA
Girardi said he doesn’t need to see any more from either of them. All that’s left is to have a discussion and a make a decision.
“Larry’s done a really good job of getting them built up,” Girardi said. “We kept them in camp a long time, and it was important they were built up for the (Triple-A) season, and they are. But they’re built up to be a long man as well.”
Associated Press photo of Pettitte, with Mitchell and Phelps in the background