Remember those early days of the season when the Yankees rotation seemed like a strength? We’re now a little more than a month into the year, and the rotation has now lost a third starting pitcher.
“Obviously it tests your depth and it stretches you,” Joe Girardi said. “The two guys that we brought in so far have done a pretty decent job. Phelpsy had the one start. Nuno’s done OK. It’s going to be tested further now.”
CC Sabathia has joined Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova on the disabled list. Sabathia complained about right knee soreness after last night’s game, and tests revealed excess fluid in the knee. Girardi said he expects the knee to be drained, and the Yankees are hoping this is only a 15-day situation. This is the same knee that required surgery after the 2010 season.
“Obviously he’s got to see Dr. Ahmad tomorrow,” Girardi said. “Because there’s no meniscal tears — I mean, that’s what our fear was because that’s what he’s had in the past — we’re hoping it will only be the two weeks. We just have to get it to calm down.”
Each time Alfredo Aceves has pitched for the Yankees this season, it’s come in a game Sabathia started, so he’s basically on turn to take Sabathia’s next start against the Mets. Giradri said he hasn’t talked to Brian Cashman about a definite plan, but he indicated that Aceves is the leading internal candidate. Matt Daley has been called up for today, but it’s worth noting that Chase Whitley was scratched from a Triple-A start this afternoon. He could be a candidate to replace Aceves as a long man. Girardi said neither Adam Warren nor Dellin Betances would be rotation candidates right now.
“After the game last night, CC complained that his knee was hurting,” Girardi said. “His landing knee, his right knee. He hadn’t mentioned anything to us before that. He said a few previous starts, he would feel it on one pitch, but it was something that he’s dealt with for a while, so he didn’t have a need to say anything to us. Yesterday it got bad and it swelled up after the game, so he had an MRI. … He said that for the most part, he didn’t feel it much. He would feel it a pitch here, a pitch there. But he said last night as he started throwing some balls in the dirt, yesterday was difficult.”
• Even before news of Sabathia’s injury was announced, Girardi was asked about the possibility of making Betances a starter again. He basically shot it down completely. “I guess you could go back to it, but the one thing that the bullpen has done for him is it’s simplified it where he’s a two-pitch guy, not trying to throw four pitches, and it’s worked extremely well,” Girardi said. “I’m sure it’s going to be brought up all the time, but he’s doing really pretty good where he’s at.”
• Also said that Warren is “not even close” to being built up enough for a rotation spot right now.
• On using a lineup that’s missing three of the usual middle-of-the-order hitters: “It’s a little strange,” Girardi said. “But as I said, we have a day game after a night game, we have a stretch that we’re going to be home a lot and the DH is going to come back into play. You want to keep everybody going, and Ich is swinging the bat extremely well. So all those factors kind of lined up.”
• Shawn Kelley is expected to be available out of the bullpen today.
• David Phelps can go 95-100 pitches today. “It would be great if we could get him deep into the game,” Girardi said.
• Because of the likely move into the rotation, and because he pitched last night, Girardi said he’ll probably try to stay away from Alfredo Aceves tonight. Sounds like it’s possible he could pitch, but that would be a last resort.
• Michael Pineda played catch at 60 feet yesterday. “Everything was fine,” Girardi said. It sounds like Pineda is likely to be back roughly six weeks after the original injury. Probably won’t be back until June. Have to get him built up again.
Associated Press photos