Fair or unfair depends on your point of view. Here in Yankees camp, David Phelps is pitching like a big league starter, but there’s little guarantee he’ll actually be one. If Phil Hughes gets healthy, there will be only one rotation job up for grabs, and Ivan Nova still seems to be the favorite. The fact Phelps has proven he can pitch out of the bullpen might actually work against him.
“I don’t want it to be like that,” Joe Girardi said. “But we always talk about taking the 12 best guys, and you’ve got to put it together.”
Is it fair that Phelps seems to be fighting an uphill battle, needing someone else to stumble for him to take on a bigger role? Would it be fair for Nova’s previous success to be forgotten; a bad second half overshadowing the positive results of the previous year?
“It is what it is,” Phelps said. “Just go out there and do my job, hopefully things take care of themselves. Whether it’s starting or the bullpen, you still have to go out, get quick outs and eat up as many innings as possible. I’m trying to do that out there. … I don’t want to be selfish and say I want to be a starter no matter what, because if that’s not the role they need me in, that’s not what’s beneficial for the team. I’ll just go out there and do my job, let it fall where it may.”
Today was Phelps’ fourth spring start. He went five scoreless with three hits, one walk and three strikeouts. The top six hitters in the Blue Jays lineup — six guys likely to be regulars in the regular season — combined to go 2-for-13, including 0-for-2 from Jose Bautista.
Through 14 innings this spring, Phelps has allowed one run.
“He’s picked up right where he left off last year,” Girardi said. “We saw such huge strides in him from 2011 to 2012, (and it’s) just continued it over.”
“We’re not taking it like a competition,” Phelps said. “Everyone is out there just trying to make an impression. Just going out there and having fun, trying to get better whether it be a bullpen day or a game day. If we’re pushing each other, that’s a good thing.”
Associated Press photo