Hiroki Kuroda is the last pitcher standing in the Yankees’ injury wrecked original starting rotation, but now the team has decided to skip the 39-year-old’s next turn in the rotation.
However, it’s apparently not injury related, as general manager Brian Cashman revealed to George King of the New York Post that manager Joe Girardi “told me that he wanted to give him some extra rest.”
Kuroda faded down the stretch last season and has already logged 147 innings at age 39, so “extra rest” is certainly plausible. On the other hand, last month Girardi hinted that they’d be counting on Kuroda to assume a normal workload due to the team’s other veteran starters going down with injuries.
Kuroda finished last season by going 0-6 with a 6.56 ERA, but this year he has a 3.66 ERA since July 1 and has thrown 110 or more pitches just once all season.
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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.
Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.
Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.