How did we get to this place, in Yankeeland, today, where I’d be writing headlines like the one above? Via George King -
The biggest question in Yankees camp — who will be the fifth starter? — could be answered today.
“We have to make a decision sooner than later,” GM Brian Cashman said of picking between Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon as the final piece to manager Joe Girardi’s rotation.
“We will close the competition soon enough. I will talk to Joe on the phone. … We will close this thing out eventually.”
Girardi and his staff meet daily, and it’s not out of the question that decisions could spill out of today’s discussions.
When camp opened Feb. 14, Ivan Nova and Garcia were the favorites to cop the final two spots behind CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett.
While it hasn’t been announced, Nova has won the fourth spot.
And, even though Colon’s numbers are better and he is throwing very well, Garcia remains the favorite because he won 12 games last year and logged 157 innings.
Despite the strong spring by Colon, the Yankees aren’t sure what he can deliver innings-wise, because he hasn’t pitched in a big-league game since 2009 due to arm trouble.
Garcia can exercise a March 29 opt-out if he isn’t on the roster; Colon’s date is March 31.
Wednesday, Girardi said he didn’t need to see any more out of the 34-year-old Garcia during yesterday’s minor-league game — when the righty worked five innings against the Phillies’ Triple-A club, allowing a run, four hits and fanning three.
It was an indication that the manager was leaning toward Garcia. And while there was plenty of Yankee brass watching Garcia, Girardi wasn’t among them.
“It’s not beneficial for me to state my preferences,” Cashman said. “I will get all the recommendations and make mine to ownership.”
Curiously, club president Randy Levine watched Garcia pitch yesterday. It was a rare appearance at the minor-league complex by Levine, who was joined by Cashman, pro scouting head Billy Eppler, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and bullpen coach Mike Harkey.
If Garcia is the fifth starter, it doesn’t mean Colon will be released or sent to Triple-A Scranton.
There is a chance Colon could work in the pen. That would likely mean the Yankees will try to move Sergio Mitre, who has value because he can start or relieve and isn’t terribly expensive at $900,000.