Yanks considering using sixth starter on occasion

Yanks considering using sixth starter on occasion

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Yankees began a stretch Friday that will see them play 30 games in the next 31 days, and manager Joe Girardi said that the club is seriously considering inserting a sixth starter at some point to alleviate the strain on its rotation.

Girardi named Bryan Mitchell, Esmil Rogers and Chase Whitley among the most likely candidates to be given a spot start. Rogers is currently serving as the Yankees' long reliever, while Mitchell and Whitley are with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"I wouldn't really call it a six-man rotation. I'd call it more of inserting a sixth man one time through, and my guess is you might see it," Girardi said. "Weather could play a role, so you just have to wait and see, but it's something that's in the back of our minds. We've kind of prepared ourselves for it."

The Yankees have not announced their probable starters for the upcoming series against the Tigers in Detroit, which would represent the earliest possible opportunity to work in a spot starter. Girardi also said that it might come the second time through the rotation.

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild first floated the idea of a six-man rotation last September, and then again this spring, believing it could be helpful considering the injury issues experienced last year by Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia. Nathan Eovaldi and Adam Warren are the other two starters in the current rotation.

"We're going to go with the guy who's throwing the ball the best," Girardi said.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.