Yankees Insider: Joe Girardi concerned about pitching staff

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Yankees Insider: Joe Girardi concerned about pitching staff
Health will be a concern for (from l. to r.) Nathan Eovaldi, CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka heading into next season.Bill Kostroun/AP

Health will be a concern for (from l. to r.) Nathan Eovaldi, CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka heading into next season.

Joe Girardi acknowledged that starting pitching could be a Yankee weakness next season because of all the question marks his rotation faces, especially with pitchers coming off injuries.

“Yeah, I think there’s a concern because of health, when you think about (Masahiro) Tanaka coming off an injury, (Nathan) Eovaldi coming off an injury, CC (Sabathia) with a knee he’s had to deal with. Michael Pineda, that was the most innings (160.2) he’s thrown after a substantial period of time.

“There is some concern. We had a lot of concerns last year and the guys did OK for us. You can go into spring training with five starters that are locked in and you can still have concerns. You’d better have depth.”

Yankee starters were tied for 18th in the majors in rotation ERA last season (4.25) and got a total of 927 innings from starters, 21st in the big leagues. The Chicago White Sox’s rotation led the majors in innings pitched, recording 1,011.

The Yanks may have a burgeoning star in Luis Severino, but, like the rest of the rotation, there’s a question mark about him: Since 2016 will be his first full season, how much of his workload will have to be managed? Ask Matt Harvey about innings limits.

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Girardi remains hopeful, though. He said he saw Tanaka at the Stadium before the pitcher returned to his native Japan and added, “He was doing well. His rehab was going well.”

Sabathia expressed optimism about the rotation and said he’s planning to wear a brace on his balky right knee full-time next season.

“It’s just up to us to work hard and get on the right track,” Sabathia said.

The knee brace helped Sabathia a great deal at the end of last season, Girardi said, because, “It kept him from extending too far… I think that’s when he’d get the shooting pain and he’d have to favor it.

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SEEKING RELIEF

Without the departed Adam Warren and Justin Wilson as bullpen options, Girardi also acknowledged that his relief corps has changed significantly. “Some guys will have to step up,” Girardi said. “We still have our eighth and ninth inning guys.

“We’ll figure it out.”

Without Wilson, the Yankees need a lefty option and Girardi says James Pazos, who had a brief stint last season, is “definitely in the mix.”

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HEAD’S UP

Girardi made it clear the Yanks have higher expectations for Chase Headley than what the third baseman delivered in 2015. Headley batted .259 with a .324 on-base percentage and .369 slugging percentage in 156 games and added 11 home runs and 62 RBI. He particularly struggled on defense, making 23 errors, by far a career worst.

“Offensively, he did pretty well,” Girardi said. “He had his struggles defensively and we expect him to get back on track. He’ll work at it, just like he did last year, and we just got to get him back on track.”

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STAR TURN

New Yankee Starlin Castro is a converted shortstop who has played only 38 games at second base in his career, so Girardi expects a “little bit of a learning curve, just because of some of this (defensive) shifts.” But the manager believes Castro will be fine.

“The one thing that we’ve talked about — shortstops have played on that side of the diamond, which helps, “Girardi said. “I watched a lot of video of him playing second. He seems fairly natural over there.”

Tags:
joe girardi ,
luis severino ,
cc sabathia ,
masahiro tanaka ,
michael pineda ,
nathan eovaldi ,
chase headley ,
starlin castro ,
new york yankees ,
mlb

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