Roster Moves: Warren, Igarashi, Pettitte

As expected, the Yankees have called up RHP Adam Warren and RHP Ryota Igarashi from Triple-A. They’re taking the place of LHP CC Sabathia (left adductor strain) and LHP Andy Pettitte (fracture left ankle), both of whom were placed on the DL. Pettitte was placed on the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot for Warren, so the earliest he can return is August 27th. Safe to say we won’t see him again until the rosters expand in September.

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Sorting out the Sabathia & Pettitte-less rotation

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

In the span of about five hours yesterday, the Yankees lost their two best starting pitchers to injury. First CC Sabathia was placed on the DL with a left adductor strain, then Andy Pettitte was struck by a batted ball and suffered a fractured left ankle. Brian Cashman said Sabathia could have pitched through his injury if this was the stretch drive or postseason, but they decided to play it safe. Obviously they didn’t have the same choice with Pettitte.

“CC is due back right after the (All-Star break),” said Cashman after yesterday’s game. “Andy, you’re talking about a minimum of six weeks of healing, and as a starter you have to get him going again, so I’ll throw two months in there in Andy’s case. We’ll just have to figure it out and see what happens. I would prefer not to go outside. Obviously if we do go outside, we’ve done that before. This is part of the process. You have to have alternatives. This gives opportunities for people to step up. Just like some guys in the bullpen have allowed us to step up and withstand some injuries — that’s what Boone Logan, Clay Rapada, and [Cody Eppley] have done — we’re going to have to ask for some other guys to do that for the rotation, as well. Let’s play it out and see where it takes us.”

The plan right now calls for Adam Warren to start in Sabathia’s place on Friday — he started for Triple-A Empire State on Sunday and lines up perfectly for tomorrow — and for Freddy Garcia to take Pettitte’s place on Monday. Ryota Igarashi is coming up from Triple-A to take Garcia’s spot in the bullpen, leaving the team without a true long reliever for the time being. In the short-term, the rotation shakes out like this…

  • Thursday, 6/28 vs. White Sox: Ivan Nova
  • Friday, 6/29 vs. White Sox: Warren
  • Saturday, 6/30 vs. White Sox: Hiroki Kuroda
  • Sunday, 7/1 vs. White Sox: Phil Hughes
  • Monday, 7/2 @ Rays: Garcia
  • Tuesday, 7/3 @ Rays: Nova
  • Wednesday, 7/4 @ Rays: Warren
  • Thursday, 7/5: scheduled day off
  • Friday, 7/6 @ Red Sox: Kuroda
  • Saturday, 7/7 @ Red Sox (doubleheader): Hughes and Garcia*
  • Sunday, 7/8 @ Red Sox: Nova

* Garcia will be on regular rest for the July 7th doubleheader thanks to that scheduled day off.

That takes the Yankees right to the All-Star break, after which Sabathia is scheduled to return. Assuming all goes well with CC, he’ll take either Garcia’s or Warren’s spot depending on how each guy performs in their two-start audition. If both guys are performing poorly, the Yankees will also have the option of bringing David Phelps back, who will be five starts into his minor league stint by then and presumably able to throw 95+ pitches. There’s always D.J. Mitchell as well, but he could wind up taking Igarashi’s spot sooner rather than later if the braintrust feels a long man is needed. Given Garcia’s short leash due to his time in the pen and the general unpredictability associated with a young guy like Warren, having a long man would probably be a pretty good idea.

The Yankees don’t rush into panic moves, at least not under Cashman in recent years. They have enough arms to get them to the All-Star break, then they can re-evaluate things once Sabathia returns. If neither Garcia, Warren, Phelps, or Mitchell distinguishes themselves in the rotation, they’ll still have plenty of time to explore the trade market. They could go big (Cole Hamels, Matt Garza or Zack Greinke), go medium (Ryan Dempster or Wandy Dempster), or go small (Jeremy Guthrie or Francisco Liriano). I suppose it depends on Pettitte’s rehab and how Hughes is holding up because frankly, we have reason to doubt his ability to remain effective over the course of a full season.

The Bombers have the makings of a really strong rotation on the DL with Sabathia and Pettitte joining Michael Pineda, so their big league staff has been compromised. The starters have been carrying the team for the last six weeks or so and now the offense is going to have to return the favor a bit, simply because there is no reasonable way to expect anyone to replace the two guys the Yankees lost yesterday. The good news is that they’re in a better position to absorb these losses than at any point in the last like, ten years really. For a while there were no internal options — hence Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon and Sidney Ponson– now there’s several. The Yankees will cycle through them and tread water for a few weeks, at least until Sabathia gets healthy and maybe until the trade deadline.

Aside: Boy, did Manny Banuelos pick a good time to get hurt or what? Same with Dellin Betances. He’s supposed to be getting called up in this situation, not demoted down to Double-A. What a let down.

Yankees place Freddy Garcia on bereavement list, recall Ryota Igarashi

The Yankees have place Freddy Garcia on the bereavement list and recalled Ryota Igarashi from Triple-A. Garcia is returning home to Venezuela following the death of his grandfather, so condolences to him and his family. He can remain on the bereavement list for up to eight days. Igarashi was claimed off waivers a little more than a week ago and is expected to arrive in the Bronx in time for first pitch. He threw 18 pitches in Triple-A just last night.

Yankees claim Ryota Igarashi off waivers from Blue Jays

Via Dan Barbarisi, the Yankees have claimed right-handed reliever Ryota Igarashi off waivers from the Blue Jays. He’s been optioned to Triple-A Empire State and Brad Meyers was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot.

Igarashi, 33, owns a 6.17 ERA and a 4.42 FIP in 70 big league innings with the Mets and Blue Jays. He can strike guys out with a mid-90s fastball and a mid-80s splitter (8.87 K/9 and 20.6 K%), but he’s also walk prone (6.17 BB/9 and 14.3 BB%). Seems like a move designed to add a little up-and-down bullpen depth due to David Robertson‘s injury.

Report: Yanks interested in Ryota Igarashi

With Brian Bruney and Phil Coke exiled to Washington and Detroit and Phil Hughes slotted for the starting rotation, the Yanks’ bullpen is in flux right now. Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte, David Robertson, Al Aceves and probably Chad Gaudin are guaranteed to hold down five of the spots with a variety of young arms ticketed for some Spring Training auditions. In an effort to secure one of the open slots, the Yankees may be looking to Japan. According to Yakyu Baka, the Yanks are one of at least seven teams interested in Ryota Igarashi.

Igarashi is a 30-year-old reliever, and NPB Tracker called him “the top free agent coming out of Japan” earlier this season. He sports a mid-90s fastball but has had some command problems over the course of his career. He missed 2007 to Tommy John surgery but has rebounded nicely over the last two seasons, striking out 86 in 97.1 innings. Prior to 2009, he had struck out 586 in 516.1 innings while walking 221. Video of a mid-decade appearance is available here on YouTube.

While Yankee fans are wary of Japanese pitchers after the Kei Igawa debacle, Japanese relievers have fared better than starters, and Igarashi’s stuff translates nicely to a Major League bullpen. Igarashi could be a good pick up for the team. He would offer them a live arm for their bullpen and probably at the right price as well. Yakyu Baka reports that Igarashi wants a two-year deal at $2-$3 million per, and for that money, the Yanks should kick the tires on this one.