July 20, 2013

On Baseball: Yet to be disarmed, Yankees still dangerous

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

BOSTON - In the vast amount of notes produced by the New York Yankees PR crew, one of the biggest sections is the injury report. Look at the disabled list and see names like Rodriguez, Teixeira, Jeter, Granderson, Youkilis, etc., etc.

A lot of money for nothing.

But while it is easy to dismiss the New Yorkers, the Yankees still have one thing on their side: pitching. New York entered Saturday's game with a team ERA of 3.75, third best in the league, behind Oakland and Texas.

And while New York is still fourth in the AL East, the Yankees are 52-45 and hanging around.

"There are things in life you have to deal with," Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said, concerning the injuries. "I've approached it every day with the same mindset try to go out every day and win a game."

They did on Saturday.

DRAKE BRITTON could not hide his smile despite the Red Sox loss. He entered the game in the ninth inning, making his major league debut with two runners on and no outs.

"I can't describe what it was like," Britton said. "I did my best to stay calm. Once I was out there, I tried to breathe.

"I was trying my best ... I was trying to enjoy myself, too."

Britton's first batter was Ichiro Suzuki, who popped out to short.

"That was awesome. I calmed down a lot after that," Britton said.

Robinson Cano hit a sacrifice fly to center field for the second out. With Lyle Overbay up, Brett Gardner was caught stealing, ending the inning.

"He did a very good job," Manager John Farrell said. "That wasn't an ideal situation to make your debut in. He kept that first experience well under control.

"He showed good stuff. He's going to get opportunities."

JON LESTER headlined Saturday's pitching news as the Red Sox announced that they were bumping his next scheduled start back two days, from Sunday to Tuesday.

Farrell said there was not a specific reason to make the change, except to give Lester more rest.

So nothing is wrong with Lester?

"General wear and tear," Farrell said.

Still, the move looks suspicious. Boston had plenty of time to set its post All-Star break rotation. To make a change on Saturday appears odd.

Lester began the season with a 4-0 April (3.11 ERA). The ERA in May was 3.92, then 7.62 in June and is 4.42 this month.

Ryan Dempster, originally scheduled to pitch Monday, will be on the mound Sunday.

CLAY BUCHHOLZ is still in the daily medical reports and it's getting scary. Farrell said that if Buchholz continues to experience pain in his neck and shoulder, the Red Sox will send the pitcher to Dr. James Andrews.

Andrews is generally known for serious arm injuries, many times resulting in Tommy John surgery.

There is no indication that Buchholz's injury is serious -- yet. But he last pitched on June 8.

BRANDON WORKMAN was tentatively scheduled to start on Tuesday. With Lester moving to Tuesday, Workman might get the start Monday, the first game of a big four-game series against the Rays.

"He's definitely a strong candidate," Farrell said.

Workman's last start, which was also his first in the majors, was July 14, when he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Oakland, before allowing two hits, including a two-run homer.

Workman also warmed up in the bullpen during both games Friday and Saturday, although he did not get in either one.

(Continued on page 2)

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