Switcheroo for Garcia and Phelps
Yankees manager Joe Girardi made it official after Sunday’s game, a 6-2 victory over the Tigers. Freddy Garcia has landed in the Yankees’ bullpen and with something of a thud. The veteran righthander will be replaced in the rotation by rookie David Phelps, who pitched more innings (7) in relief than Garcia (3 1/3) had in the latter’s previous two starts.
Garcia, who is 0-2 with a 12.51 ERA, indicated his demotion when talking to reporters before Sunday’s game at Yankee Stadium one day after being tagged for 6 earned runs, 5 hits (1 home run) and 2 walks (1 intentional) in 1 2/3 innings in a 7-5 loss to the Tigers.
The Yankees’ rotation for the upcoming series at the Stadium against the Orioles features Hiroki Kuroda Monday night, Phil Hughes Tuesday night and Ivan Nova Wednesday night. Phelps will get the ball Thursday night when the Yanks open a four-game set in Kansas City.
“I’m not surprised,” Garcia said. “You play here; they expect you to pitch good. It’s not like you pitch somewhere else. We try to win here. We don’t try to develop players.”
Phelps nevertheless has been developing fine. The leading winner for the Yankees’ Triple A Scranton affiliate in 2011, Phelps won the James P. Dawson Award this spring as the top rookie in camp and has pitched to a 3.57 ERA in six appearances totaling 17 2/3 innings.
“I have said all along that I envision him as a starter,” Girardi said of Phelps. “He has four pitches, can locate the fastball and has movement. He holds runners on and fields his position well. There’s nothing that tells me that he can’t be a major league starter. It’s one thing to say it and another thing to go out and do it, but I have been pleased with the way he has thrown the baseball for us.”
Taking Phelps’ position as the long man out of the bullpen will be righthander D.J. Mitchell, 25, who was recalled from Empire State Sunday replacing Cody Eppley, who pitched three innings Saturday and optioned to the Triple A affiliate.
“We hope Freddy can find a way to fix things in the bullpen,” Girardi said.