The day Masahiro Tanaka went for an MRI on his elbow, Brandon McCarthy made his first start with the Yankees. He pitched into the seventh inning, allowed one earned run and the Yankees got a win. Since then, Tanaka’s been shutdown with a torn elbow ligament, and McCarthy has continued to pitch well.
Which means, there’s no problem at all! McCarthy will just fill Tanaka’s shoes, and the Yankees rotation will be fine.
“I hope (that)’s not a thought,” McCarthy said. “It’s not a thought for me because I’ve done things like that in the past where you realize it’s the wrong mindset. You’re trying to control something that’s out of your control. I don’t care who it is, for any of us, you just want to throw as well as you can and give the team a chance. If that replaces a really good pitcher or makes up for a bunch of injuries, then great. You can’t do anything more than what you can do, and trying to control that is a quick way to go backwards, I think.”
Maybe Brian Cashman will pull off some sort of massive trade in the next week before the trade deadline, but asking prices seem awfully high, and the Yankees might have to keep going the route of incremental upgrades. David Huff is better than Alfredo Aceves. McCarthy is better than Vidal Nuno. Chase Headley is better than Yangervis Solarte. Chris Capuano is better than whoever the next long reliever/spot starter might have been. That’s the basic idea of the Yankees moves so far.
And so far, the moves seem to have helped. McCarthy and Headley — the headliners of the new additions — have been particularly helpful in their first three games with the Yankees.
“Most important are the three wins,” Headley said. “I feel pretty comfortable. It’s a little bit of a learning experience not knowing any of the pitchers really. But, for the most part, swings have felt good. I just missed a couple balls and squared some up too. I’m pretty happy with where I’m at.”
And the Yankees have to be happy with that as well. There’s no true Tanaka replacement on the market — guys like that just aren’t available, especially if you assume the Rays aren’t trading David Price within the division — so the Yankees are going to need good swings from Headley and chances to win from McCarthy. That’s all they could ask for, and they’ve gotten both so far.
“It’s a nice feeling,” McCarthy said. “It’s the opposite of how I felt earlier this year, where I was a burden on my team. … To come here and feel good about myself again, to contribute to a playoff race, it’s a good feeling.”
Associated Press photo