Yankees starter Jaime Garcia‘s line score for Wednesday afternoon’s start against the Rays at Citi Field looked fine: one run allowed, five hits, one walk, four strikeouts. There was just one issue: he lasted only 4 2/3 innings, something he wasn’t happy about.
Garcia got two quick outs in the fifth, but Lucas Duda singled to keep the inning alive. Manager Joe Girardi went out to the mound and removed Garcia at just 78 pitches. Garcia didn’t make eye contact with Girardi when he handed him the ball, and the two were later seen in a face-to-face argument in the dugout.
The move worked, as Chad Green got the final out of the fifth, then pitched a scoreless sixth by striking out the side. The Yankees went on to win 3-2.
Per MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, Girardi said after the game, “I understand if he’s still mad. I’m OK with that.”
In Girardi’s defense, his team is involved in two very important battles: the club is 3.5 games behind the first-place Red Sox in the AL East, and leads the Twins for the first AL Wild Card slot by 3.5 games. Garcia hadn’t exactly been lights out since joining the Yankees, yielding 18 runs (14 earned) in five starts for an unsightly 5.11 ERA. That also includes a mediocre 20/16 K/BB ratio in 24 2/3 innings.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.