Yankees in the market for versatility
One problem with a six-man rotation is that it all but forces a team to carry 13 pitchers. Alas, it’s difficult to construct a roster that way without a multi-position threat such as Ben Zobrist or Brock Holt on the bench.
Such players, of course, are rare, which is why Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he recently told the head of the team’s minor-league department, “We’ve got to create one.”
During spring training, Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild raised the possibility of the team opening the season with a six-man rotation. As it turns out, the Yankees might want to revisit the idea soon.
Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, after missing more than a month, looked terrific in his return last Wednesday. Ivan Nova, who threw well in his first rehabilitation start Monday night, might require only one more minor-league appearance.
The Yankees, as they move forward, might want to build in extra rest for both pitchers. They’ve already skipped Michael Pineda once to preserve his innings and could do the same with Adam Warren and even CC Sabathia.
A 13-man staff, though, would leave Girardi with only a three-man bench. A Zobrist or Holt masks the lack of depth by rotating between infield and outfield. Both players started as shortstops, then branched out to other positions.
“Those guys are invaluable,” Girardi said.