It’s back to mop-up duty for Freddy Garcia.
The Yankees’ 35-year-old right-hander, who was initially bounced from the rotation at the end of April, is returning to the pen now to make room for Ivan Nova.
Nova, who is recovering from rotator cuff inflammation, will face the Rays on Saturday. He last pitched on Aug. 21, when he gave up six runs in a loss to the White Sox.
Garcia has pitched a total of 17 2/3 innings in his last four starts, giving up 15 runs and 11 walks in the process. He’s 7-6 with a 5.19 ERA in 102 1/3 innings for the season.
The switch means that David Phelps will remain in the rotation, though perhaps only to make one more start. Phelps hadn’t been much better than Garcia of late, giving up eight runs in 8 2/3 innings in his two starts this month. Andy Pettitte’s return next week should push Phelps back to the pen.
Barring any setbacks, the Yankees will have their ducks in a row for the final two weeks of the season. Of course, thoughts about who from the group of Pettitte, Phil Hughes, Nova and Garcia might be in line for postseason starts behind CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda have had to take a backseat to worrying about actually reaching the postseason.
Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.
Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.
Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.