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.
Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.
Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list
Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.
Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.
Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).
While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.