The Upcoming Rotation

Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II, AP

Part of the problem with having a six-man rotation and an off day and using a starter in relief is that we don’t really know who’s pitching when. The Yankees announced on Monday that A.J. Burnett will open their series against the Angels on Tuesday, and will be followed by Ivan Nova on Wednesday and Bartolo Colon on Thursday. That’s the same three guys they ran out there against the White and Red Sox late last week, so they didn’t do any serious rearranging.

Despite throwing just 13 pitches (including four intentional balls), Phil Hughes‘ relief appearance against the Red Sox on Sunday was enough to eliminate him from his scheduled Tuesday start, which is unsurprising. There’s really no reason to push it with the guy after he spent roughly three months on the DL with some kind of shoulder issue. Who knows how many warm-up pitches he threw in the bullpen. I’m guessing he’ll start at some point next weekend against the Rays, or at least I hope so. I’m not sure I could handle another 25-year-old starter being banished to a relief role because “his stuff plays up in the bullpen.”

CC Sabathia is getting an extra day of rest, starting on Friday instead of Thursday. The whole point of sticking with the six-man rotation is to give him bit of a breather here and there, and one extra day at a time is pretty much the best way to go about it. There is such a thing as too much rest for a starting pitcher, and the last thing the Yankees need to do is knock Sabathia out of his rhythm this late in the season. I assume Freddy Garcia will start on Saturday, putting Hughes on track for Sunday. We might see him in relief on Tuesday or Wednesday in that case. Ugh.

As I wrote yesterday, the Yankees are hamstrung by what amounts to a pair of dead roster spots: the 13th pitcher (seems to be Luis Ayala at this point), and Jorge Posada. It’s not the end of the world but it’s not ideal either, though it looks like they’re going to stick with it for the next few weeks. The position players will get their rest in September, but now’s the best time to take the foot off the starting rotation gas because you’d like to get them lined back up and working on the regular schedule in mid-to-late-September. For now, Sabathia gets an extra day this week and I’m sure we’ll see the other guys get an extra day in the coming weeks.

Gamel keeps hitting in Staten Island loss

Gary Sanchez and Mason Williams were named the Offensive Player of the Week for the Low-A South Atlantic League and Short Season NY-Penn League, respectively. So congrats to them. Mark Newman said there’s a chance Austin Romine will return from his back strain in “about a week,” but it’s hardly set in stone. Angelo Gumbs, meanwhile, is away from Short Season Staten Island because of a personal issue, so hopefully everything’s okay.

Triple-A Scranton (3-1 loss to Gwinnett)
Kevin Russo, 2B: 0 for 4, 1 BB, 2 K
Chris Dickerson, LF: 1 for 5, 1 R, 2 K, 1 SB, 1 CS
Jesus Montero, C: 0 for 5, 1 K – he did hit a ball to the warning track, so that’s a plus … UPDATE: it was two balls to the track, actually
Jorge Vazquez, 1B: 1 for 4, 1 K
Mike Lamb, DH: 3 for 4, 1 RBI – 11 for his last 21 (.524)
Brandon Laird, 3B: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 E (missed catch)
Jordan Parraz, RF, Greg Golson, CF & Doug Bernier, SS: all 1 for 3, 1 BB – Parraz and Bernier whiffed twice, Golson once … Golson also had a double and got picked off first
Greg Smith, LHP: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 5 K, 6-4 GB/FB – 60 of 101 pitches were strikes
Josh Schmidt, RHP: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2-5 GB/FB – 31 of 51 pitches were strikes (60.8%)

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2011 Draft: No contact between Yanks and 41st rounder Jeremy Rathjen

Via K. Levine-Flandrup, the Yankees have not had any contact or negotiations with 41st rounder Jeremy Rathjen since the draft. Rathjen, an outfielder from Rice, fell in the draft because he tore the ACL in his right knee this spring. He was expected to be a top five rounds pick before the injury, but was considered unsigned just before the draft. Rathjen is an intriguing power-speed talent that plays a legit center field, though he can have trouble making contact. The signing deadline is one week from today, so there’s still plenty of time for the two sides to get together and hammer out a deal if they choose.

Open Thread: Joe DiMaggio, in stamp form

In an effort to increase interest in stamp collecting (seriously), the U.S. Postal Service is launching a 2012 commemorative program featuring four baseball players “who were perennial All-Star selections and left an indelible impression on the game.” Joe DiMaggio (right, obviously) is the first to be released in preview form, and the remaining three will be announced in the coming days.

I’m not much of a collector, of anything really, but I do have a big cardboard box on the top shelf of my closet with every stupid little giveaway item I’ve ever gotten at a baseball game, Yankees or otherwise. I’ve got more calenders than I know what to do with, more hats than I could ever wear, more magnets than I could ever stick on my fridge. Is that weird? Typing it out makes me think it’s kinda weird.

Anyway, here is your open thread for the night. The Mets are playing the Padres at home (Pelfrey vs. Stauffer), and you can also watch the Red Sox take on the Twins on ESPN (Wakefield vs. Baker). MLB Network will also be broadcasting a west coast game later on. Talk about whatever you like here, anything goes.

Injury Updates: A-Rod & Feliciano

The latest from Tampa…

  • Alex Rodriguez continued to increase the intensity of his workouts today, taking 57 swings in a situational hitting batting practice session. There’s still no firm timetable for his return, but there’s a chance he’ll start a minor league rehab assignment this Friday and I have no reason to suspect that’s changed after today.
  • Pedro Feliciano, remember him? He has resumed throwing bullpens after his latest setback and might actually be able to throw batting practice sometime next week. I’ll believe it when I see it, even though I won’t see it and will have to instead rely on people that did see it to tell me it actually happened.