Freddy Garcia allowed only two hits over six innings Saturday in his first start for the Yankees
Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia (so far) are fitting right into the Yankees’ senior citizen center for aging ballplayers.
While Colon (37) has pitching well enough in long relief, Garcia (35) finally made his first start in a Yankee uniform Saturday and it was an impressive one.Â He allowed only two hits over six innings in New York’sÂ 5-2 victory over the defending American League champion Texas Rangers.
Garcia’s first scheduled start of the season was postponed by rain. The weather wasn’t much better on Saturday with the temperature dipping into the 40s along with intermittent rain showers and winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour.
But nothing seem to brother Garcia, who gave up hits to Adrian Beltre in the first inning and David Murphy in the fourth.
“I’m really happy, thankful for starting,” said Garcia, whose start was pushed back more than a week. “I’ve been waiting a couple of weeks and it came out good.”
Some might suggest it’s the uniform, but Colon, who hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2009, and the well-traveled Garcia seem to be rejuvenated in the Bronx. The pair should fit right in on aÂ team that includes 40-something Mariano Rivera, soon-to-be 40-year-old Jorge Posada and 30-somethings Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter.
Garcia had already earned the No. 5 spot in the rotation, but with Phil Hughes on the disabled list, Colon is going to get a chance to at least make a spot start – or two – in Hughes’ spot.
On Friday, the Yankees placed Hughes on the DL, even though they insisted there was nothing physically wrong with the struggling righthander.
Instead, manager Joe GirardiÂ said that Hughes, who is 0-1 with a 13.94 ERA, is just going through a dead-arm period.
Much has been made of Hughes’ lack of velocity and lack of movement on his fastball, which has been clocked at 89 miles per hour, as opposed to just under 93 mph last season.
Hughes hopes to use the time off to build up his arm strength and perhaps he will go back into the rotation when he returns, but you have to wonder how the Yankees will use him after three rough starts to begin the season.
Perhaps Colon could be auditioning for a full-time spot in the rotation, although the Yankees might not have to use a fifth starter next week due to a bizarre scheduling quirk.
After completing the series against Texas, they have Monday off. They then take on the Blue Jays in Toronto in a rare two-game series before getting another off day on Thursday. Girardi has not revealed who will pitch on Wednesday.
Here’s an ugly stat on Hughes: he has has allowed at least five runs and pitched fewer than five innings in each of his first three starts this season, just the third Yankees starter in modern era to accomplish that dubious feat. The others were Chien-Ming Wang in 2009 and Brian Boehringer in 1995.
The Yankees certainly are hoping they don’t have another Chien-Ming Wang situation on their hands. Wang won 19 games for the Yankees in 2006 and 2007, but never recovered after suffering a foot injury while running the bases in Houston in 2008. He underwent shoulder surgery on July 30, 2009 and hasn’t pitched in the majors since.
Colon, meanwhile, hasn’t made more than 18 starts in a season since 2005. He made 10 starts in 2006, 18 in 2007, seven in 2008 and 12 in 2009, which is a combined 47 in the last five years.
But he earned a spot on the Yankees’ roster after an impressive spring and has done a credible job out of the bullpen with a 3.97 ERA in three appearances.
Because of the two off days next week, it’s not exactly known when Colon would make his first start for the Yankees.
If Hughes is out for an extended period of time, the Yankees could give Colon more than one start, but given his lack of work in recent years, he really might not be the answer. New York might have to bring someone up from the minors.
The best-case scenario is for Hughes to regain the arm strength, locate his fastball better and get back on the horse.
STILL WINNING WITH THE LONG BALL: The Yankees went into Saturday’s game sporting a 7-5 record (now 8-5) despite aÂ .256 batting average, which was only seventh-best mark in the A.L.
They are winning because of the long ball. New York belted two more Saturday, increasing its major league-leading total to 24, an average of just under two per game. Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano went deep against the Rangers.
Alex Rodriguez, who went into Saturday’s game batting an A.L-best .385, left in the seventh inning with lower back and oblique stiffness. Girardi wasn’t sure if Rodriguez would play on Sunday.
Losing A-Rod is the last thing the Yankees need as he and Robinson Cano are the two hitters who have gotten off to good starts. Also, A-Rod seems to be moving better at third base than he has in the last couple of years due to his
Saturday’s game was completed in two hours, 39 minutes, unheard of by Yankees’ standards.
If it seems like the Yankees are playing quicker games, it’s true. Discounting Thursday’s 6-5, 10-inning win over the Orioles, the Yankees’ last four games have been completed in under three hours.
Tags: Alex Rodriguez, bartolo colon, chien-ming wang, Freddy Garcia, Robinson Cano