This arrangement has been assumed for a few days now, but the Yankees just made it official.
According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia have won the final two rotation spots. Bartolo Colon will pitch out of the bullpen.
Colon made a pretty solid case for the rotation by posting a 2.40 ERA and 17/1 K/BB ratio over 15 innings this spring, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger that he wants to use the veteran right-hander much like he did Alfredo Aceves in 2009. Aceves posted a 3.54 ERA and 69/19 K/BB ratio over 84 innings that season in a long relief role.
If yesterday’s Kevin Millwood signing tells us anything, it’s that the Yankees just want bodies. Maybe one of them will work out. Maybe all of them will flame out in epic fashion. Baseball is a funny game sometimes, so who really knows? The Bombers are just trying to stay afloat long enough until they can acquire someone before the trade deadline. And you know they will.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.