As first reported by MLB.com beat writer Bryan Hoch, the Yankees announced early Sunday morning that right-hander Freddy Garcia has been removed from the starting rotation and will operate as the long man in the bullpen going forward.
David Phelps, who has posted a 3.57 ERA through 17 2/3 innings of relief this season, is expected to take over the Yankees’ vacant rotation spot.
Garcia was shelled for six earned runs in just 1 2/3 innings Saturday in a 7-5 loss to the Tigers and is sporting a hideous 12.51 ERA in 13 2/3 total frames this year. It’s feasible that he could pitch well enough out of the ‘pen to earn his way back into the rotation mix, but he’s dug himself quite a hole.
The Yankees hold an 11-9 record heading into Sunday’s action, which has them in third place in the AL East.
The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.
While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.