The Yankees are counting on CC Sabathia to give them distance tonight. If they don’t, the pitching situation could get very interesting.
Joe Girardi said he won’t use David Phelps, Cory Wade or Dave Robertson tonight. Girardi’s going to check with Mariano Rivera, but he might not have him either, and Yankees won’t know about Rafael Soriano until he plays catch (and even then, they won’t be positive until he actually warms up in the bullpen.
“We’re going to need some distance out of (Sabathia) today, there’s no doubt about that,” Girardi said. “Our bullpen’s a little beat up. When you don’t get a lot of distance out of your starters early on in the season when you don’t necessarily get an off day, you can get in this situation.”
Because Sabathia is starting, and because there’s an off day tomorrow, the Yankees decided not to call up reinforcements from Triple-A. It doesn’t help that Adam Warren and D.J. Mitchell pitched Sunday and Monday.
“We thought we could get through,” Girardi said.
The big test will be Soriano, who ripped the nail on his middle finger while throwing a slider in the bullpen last night. The finger was bleeding last night, but Soriano was scheduled to play catch today to test it. If he gets through catch, Girardi will considering him available, but with the knowledge that things might change while he’s getting loose.
“We could sure use him,” Girardi said.
• With an off day tomorrow, Girardi said he’s prepared to use a starter out of the bullpen if necessary. But that’s only if they get into a “crazy” game. Sounds like Phil Hughes would be the guy. “We have to cover our bases,” Girardi said. “So if we were to do something, would it be Hughes? Maybe.”
• Sabathia wasn’t sharp on Opening Day, but he said his fastball command was much better in his bullpen. “I would agree with him,” Girardi said. “I thought as time went on in that game, he got back to being CC, locating where he wanted to, and shorter pitch count innings for him, so that’s who he is.”
• Girardi said he literally had not heard about Jorge Posada throwing Friday’s first pitch until he was asked about it pregame. “That’s who it is!?” he said.
• Even Derek Jeter said he didn’t know about Posada until earlier today. “They just told me on the bus,” Jeter said. “Good for him. I know he’s going to be at the welcome home dinner. It’ll be nice. I think it’ll be a nice moment for him.”
• Girardi on Alex Rodriguez’s at-bats: “I think they’ve been pretty good. He’s been on base a ton. He’s been patient. I haven’t seen him really go out of his zone. He’s taken his walks. He’s gotten on base. He hit the ball really well last night to right-center. The ball started dying after about the second or third inning.”
• Girardi on Mark Teixeira’s at-bats: “I’ve been happy (with Teixeira’s) too. I think Tex has hit a lot of balls on the barrel. He’s hit some of them up in the air, and he just misses a home run last night. It’s like Robbie Cano. He hits two rockets just foul. They’re still pretty good at-bats even though the result’s not what you want sometimes.”
Associated Press photos