In corresponding moves, the Yankees promoted starter D.J. Mitchell from Triple-A and demoted Cody Eppley back down to the minors. Mitchell will likely take David Phelps‘ role in the bullpen as the longman with Phelps being inserted into the rotation until Andy Pettitte is ready. However, Joe Girardi seems to have left open the option that Mitchell could get the rotation spot over Phelps simply because he is stretched out a bit more.
Garcia signed a one-year $4 million deal during the offseason. That is probably the only thing keeping him in Pinstripes right now because the Yankees likely aren’t ready to just swallow that whole. Instead he’ll work out of the bullpen for a few weeks. If he shows improvement, he could potentially take Phil Hughes‘ rotation spot from him. Or if he continues to struggle, the Yankees could decide the $4 million is a sunk cost and just release him.
Keeping Garcia in the ‘pen allows GM Brian Cashman time to find a potential trade partner for Garcia. Obviously the Yankees won’t get much back for Garcia, if they could find anybody willing to take him. They may find somebody desperate enough for an extra starter that they would be willing to pay some of the $4 million they owe him though.
Pettitte will throw in a High-A Tampa game on Monday and is expected to throw about 95-100 pitches. He’ll likely get one more start after that and then join the team in the Bronx. That means that Phelps or Mitchell would only need to make one start before he comes back. If Hughes continues to struggle, Girardi may just decide to plug Pettitte in for him, but that Phelps will have to be really impressive for the Yankees to consider that.
Mitchell has been solid in four minor league starts this year putting up a 3.13 ERA, 8.2 K/9, and 2.7 BB/9 in 23 innings.