With the loss of arguably their two best starting pitchers to injuries, the outlook for the Yankees is much different going into this four-game set with the Chicago White Sox than it was on Monday when they began their series with the Cleveland Indians. Despite sweeping the Tribe, the team will now have to find a way to continue its scorching play without lefties CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte.
Rookie Adam Warren arrived today to fill a roster spot and fill one of the vacant rotation spots. The right-hander comes in with decent minor league numbers at Triple-A (5-5, 3.86 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 59 K and 27 BB in 86.1 IP), but he’s been on a bit of a roll in his last five starts, not allowing a run in three of those outings.
The 24-year-old will make his major league debut tomorrow night, and Girardi talked about what he’s seen from him.
“I thought he had good command,” Girardi said. “I thought his fastball at times can be sneaky. I thought he pitched down in the zone well in spring training, and his breaking ball can be good. (The White Sox) feature a lot of right-handed hitters, and hopefully that bodes well for him.”
The other rotation spot will be temporarily filled by veteran Freddy Garcia. The right-hander pitched well enough last season to earn a playoff start, but looked as if he didn’t belonged to begin this year. Garcia gave up 19 earned runs through his first four outings this season (13.2 IP) before being removed from the rotation, but he’s been much better as the Yankees’ long man out of the bullpen. He’s only allowed three earned runs in 17.1 IP since the end of April, and seems to have regained Girardi’s trust.
“He did a good job, because there were times when he didn’t pitch a whole lot – I think like twice in a month,” Girardi said. “We saw him start to turn the corner and pitch better for us, and I think that was important. He’s not as stretched out as we would like, but that’s just something we’ll have to deal with. We had him throw some extra pitches yesterday after he came out in the bullpen, but I thought his fb was better, his slider was better and I thought his split got better. That’s a big part of his arsenal.”
• Russell Martin is out of the lineup again today because his back has stiffened back up. Chris Stewart will start in his place. “You can see that it’s tough for him to finish his swing,” Girardi said. “I think the rotation is what bothers him, so we’ll take it day by day.”
• Martin has dealt with back issues before, but it doesn’t sound like anyone is overly concerned at this point. For all of you Francisco Cervelli lovers, that likely means we won’t be seeing the energetic backup quite yet. “He’s been through it before,” Girardi said of Martin. “We’ve been through it before with him. Short term, we want it to get better. Long term, my feeling is that he’s going to be healthy and is going to be OK. In my mind, this is not a DL case. He’s available if I need him tonight.”
• Apparently, Brian Cashman said on Michael Kay’s radio show that David Phelps should be rejoining the team soon. Phelps pitched well out of the bullpen and as a spot starter earlier this season, and was recently sent down to the minors to be stretched back out. He’s said to be up to about 65-70 pitches, so you would think the Yankees would want to get him one more start before recalling him. Girardi wouldn’t confirm anything, but Warren will likely have to pitch well tomorrow night in order to hold down his spot in the rotation the next time through.
• Another name to keep an eye on is Ramon Ortiz. The veteran right-hander has been pitching well for Triple-A and has plenty of big league experience. He threw six scoreless innings last night (6 H, 2 BB, 2 K) and has now registered nine consecutive quality starts.
• To fill Pettitte’s roster spot, the Yankees have recalled RHP Ryota Igarashi. This will be his second stint with the team. In nine relief outings at Triple-A, Igarashi was 1-1 with two saves and a 2.61 ERA (10.1 IP, 3 ER, 15 K). He’ll be used out of the pen.
• Just as Cashman has, Girardi also seemed to dismiss the notion that the Yankees may need to look outside of the organization for help. CC is expected back shortly after the All-Star break, so the expectation is that they’ll only need to find one guy to step up between Garcia, Warren, Phelps and Co. Girardi talked about liking the fact that the Yankees have several options who they’re familiar with. Of course, a few dud outings may change all of that. “It does make you comfortable, because you have an idea of what they’re like and they’re personality,” he said. “It’s not someone who you’re seeing for the first time in your clubhouse.”
• Here is the today’s lineup for the White Sox: 1. De Aza (CF); 2. Youkilis (3B); 3. Dunn (DH); 4. Konerko (1B); 5. Rios (RF); 6. Pierzynski (C); 7. Viciedo (LF); 8. Ramirez (SS); 9. Beckham (2B); RHP Axelrod.
Associated Press photos