Phelps lacked staying power

With Andy Pettitte returning to the rotation this weekend, there has been much speculation about whose place among the current starters he will take. The obvious pitcher to be replaced may be David Phelps if for no other reason than the fact that he is the least experienced.

The righthander made his second start Wednesday night and was coasting along until the fifth inning when he simply lost control. After a two-out double by Ben Zobrist, Phelps walked Carlos Pena and B.J. Upton to load the bases. Those walks cost him a chance for his first major-league victory because Yankees manager Joe Girardi made the move to the bullpen for Boone Logan.

Starters must go five innings to qualify for a winning decision. Phelps was one out short with the Yankees leading, 1-0, an adnvantage they would not surrender until the ninth inning. Logan pitched out of the jam by striking out Matt Joyce. Girardi’s move was sound, considering that Joyce and the next hitter, Luke Scott, both bat left-handed, so the call to Logan made sense.

It was a tough break for Phelps, who was also faced with a bases-loaded situation in the first inning and averted danger by retiring Will Rhymes on a ground ball. Phelps allowed only three hits, but four walks helped push his pitch count up to 89 before Girardi applied the hook.

Despite not qualifying for a possible victory, Phelps had a decent outing. Wherever he winds up over the weekend, Phelps has made a positive impression this season both out of the bullpen and as a replacement for struggling Freddy Garcia. If he is indeed the pitcher Pettitte replaces, Phelps could be useful as the long man in the pen or perhaps to return to Triple A to build up innings to be ready if the Yankees need a starter down the road.

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