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.