The Yankees rotation has long been a source of worry for fans of the club. While the concerns haven’t stopped the Yanks from dominating the AL East, the staff isn’t without question marks. MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch is among the reporters to pass along the latest from the team (in this report and these tweets).
Of most immediate concern was the news that veteran southpaw CC Sabathia will return to the active roster on Sunday. He’ll return following a brief respite for his problematic knee and look to improve upon his 4.78 ERA.
Even if Sabathia is able to get some positive momentum going, he doesn’t seem like an optimal postseason starter. The same holds for the club’s other aging lefty rotation piece, J.A. Happ, whose season-long struggles are well-documented. He’ll be looking for a turnaround outing today.
It’s interesting to think about the possible ways the Yankees could best utilize these veteran southpaws. Perhaps the most intriguing concept is some kind of piggyback arrangement involving a pair of high-octane young righties who may not quite be capable of handling full starter’s duties this season. Jonathan Loaisiga is just returning from injury and hasn’t yet established himself in the bigs, while Luis Severino is still working back. There’s optimism Severino will be a factor next month, though even a minor setback could end his season and he may not be able to ramp up fully so late in the year.
There are also at least some questions involving the late-season handling of the emergent Domingo German. As Hoch explains, German did not reach 100 frames last year and has never thrown more than 123 1/3 in a professional season (a high-water mark he reached in 2014). The club is not going to let him throw an unrestrained volume of innings this year, but also has decided not to publicize the limits.
Indeed, skipper Aaron Boone says that the organization has not “even honestly gotten deep into those conversations yet” as to when and how to pull back on German’s usage. Boone suggests that the return of other hurlers will help the club manage the 27-year-old’s workload. Fortunately, with a big division lead to work with, it seems the Yanks aren’t worried that they’ll miss out on any key innings. “[W]e feel like he’s strong right now and still has a lot left in the tank,” says Boone.
There is still one other intriguing possibility to keep an eye on as well. Tommy John rehabber Jordan Montgomery has thrown a two-inning sim game. Could he be an option late in the year and into the postseason? “We’ll see,” says Boone.