The beginning to the Yankees season has not been pretty and when they lost 60% of their rotation by mid-May, it seemed all hope was lost…until Chase Whitley, David Phelps and Vidal Nuno stepped in and held down the fort for the Bronx Bombers in their time of need.
“They’ve kept us afloat,” Mark Teixeira said to the New York Daily News. “That’s what good teams do. You’re not going to go through a season completely healthy; you’re always going to have to have guys step in whether it’s a bullpen guy moving to the rotation or a young guy coming up. All the guys we’ve had step in on the pitching side have done a great job.”
Ivan Nova wasn’t pitching particularly well for the Yankees when he blew out his elbow, but he was hoping he could capitalize on his 2013 season. Michael Pineda was aiming for a comeback of epic proportions–until he was caught in the middle of a sticky pine tar scandal and was suspended for 10 games. He then faced another setback when he injured his teres major during a simulated game, which will leave him out until August at the earliest. CC Sabathia was trying to reverse his terrible 2013 season but he had a bad beginning to his 2014 season before complaining of knee discomfort. Whitley, Nuno and Phelps plugged in the holes for the Yankees and they’ve done everything in their power to make sure they give the Yankees a good outing every time they’re on the mound.
“In the past it’s been guys like Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colon; guys that have done it before,” Teixeira said. “It’s mostly unproven guys, which is just fun to watch. I love seeing young guys out there that aren’t afraid to take the ball in big situations.”
Phelps sees this as an opportunity to open eyes and he’s been doing just that; he pitched six and two-third innings of scoreless ball against the hot hitting Oakland Athletics. He was competing for the fifth spot in Spring Training and lucked out to Pineda, being placed in the bullpen to being the season. These weren’t the circumstances he wanted to become a starter, but he knows this is an opportunity to show the Yankees he can handle the pressure.
“That’s one thing that we just have continue to do is show that we’re able to do it,” Phelps said. “I talked about it with Adam (Warren) last year and we talked about it earlier this year: kind of open up eyes for some of our younger guys to come up and get a chance. The more chances that we get, the more success that we have, it’s just great for everybody.”