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Warren next in line for Yankees pitching staff

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[2]When this day started, the Yankees planning to call-up Adam Warren to serve as a long reliever, a bit of multi-inning insurance behind Freddy Garcia. By the time Andy Pettitte hobbled into the clubhouse with a broken ankle, the Yankees were definitely calling up Warren and giving him his first big league start on Friday.

“He’s earned it,” Brian Cashman said. “He almost earned the opportunity last year, too. We’re excited to get a chance to see what he’s got to do. I know this is a day he’s been dreaming about and growing for. Throw strikes, try to eliminate the butterflies, trust the guys he’s got behind him and we’ll see where he takes us.”

Warren opened some eyes this spring, and after getting off to a slow start this season, he’s pitched to a 2.03 ERA through five starts this month. Ramon Ortiz is a big league veteran with good Triple-A numbers, but Cashman said Warren is the better option at this point. He’s getting the call because he’s the best starter available.

“I saw him quite a bit (in spring training),” Russell Martin said. “I was pleased. He’s a professional. He’s got good command of at least three pitches. Understands how to pitch. We’ll see what we have when we get here. I haven’t seen him in a while, but I like his stuff.”

When camp opened this spring, all of the buzz centered on Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos, but Betances has been demoted to Double-A and Banuelos hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Instead it’s been David Phelps, D.J. Mitchell and now Warren who have pitched their way to the big league roster.

Phelps has made two starts for High-A Tampa and will be cleared for 65-70 pitches next time out. He’s being stretched out as a starter, but he’s not there yet, and so the door has opened for Warren. Friday will be his normal turn after last pitching on Sunday.

“He’s next in line,” Cashman said. “Phelps, if he was stretched out, would be the prime candidate, then Warren would be second to Phelps. With Phelps’ assistance to us at the big-league level, he was reduced to about an inning in the end. We’re trying to get him back going into the rotation, so Warren is by far the next best for us. … He’s earned the right, and he’s due for the opportunity. Now it’s going to come, which is great. Whatever happens is going to happen in the short-term, (but) it’s not going to change the fact that we believe he’s a big-league starter going forward here at some point on a consistent basis.”

Associated Press photo