Freddy Garcia faces big night in the BronxStrong performance necessary for The Chief on trade deadline eve?
But on Sunday, Andy Pettitte suffered a “small setback” in his rehab from a fractured ankle, as x-rays revealed that his broken left fibula wasn’t healing as quickly as they’d hoped – and the speculation floodgates opened.
General Manager Brian Cashman said late Sunday that “you have good days and bad days in rehab” and that Pettitte is “coming back in September, as we’ve said all along.” But the GM surely knows if there is more to the story, and that’s when he’s been most dangerous.
Sure, Cashman has said multiple times that he’s not necessarily in the market for a starting pitcher ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline. But, the team wasn’t in the market for an outfielder, either, at least until Brett Gardner’s season likely ended after elbow surgery – and days later, Ichiro (who no one in the general public even knew was on the table) became a Yankee.
So, with that in mind, Garcia takes the hill against Baltimore knowing that another solid performance could, if Cashman is surreptitiously looking, buy him some time.
The Chief has done a yeoman’s job since returning to the rotation earlier this month, going 2-2 with a 3.90 ERA and 27 striekouts in 30 innings, and he’s coming off a strong quality start in Seattle that saw him pitch into the eighth inning and fan a season-high eight.
But, he already has the spectre of David Phelps (who has allowed just one hit and struck out 12 in 7.1 IP since being recalled) looming over his shoulder, and if he has a bad outing at home on Monday night, who knows whether or not the panic button will be pressed and either Phelps or a big-name starter will be brought in to fill in for (or replace) Pettitte once again.
In addition to all that, Garcia’s only start of this season against Baltimore was a tough one, as The Chief allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings in a game the Yankees eventually won in extra innings.
That was a long time ago; April 10 was Garcia’s first start of the season, and a lot has changed since then. But for both The Chief himself and the Yankees, hopefully the adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same” doesn’t somehow end up being the night’s mantra.
Otherwise, tomorrow could be another big press day in the Bronx.
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES
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