Club doesn't want left-hander running bases, hitting in NL ballpark
By Nick Suss
NEW YORK -- Playing in a National League ballpark presents an interesting set of problems for the Yankees, not the least of which includes the obvious dilemma of putting a bat in a pitcher's hands.
But for one pitcher, the opportunity to hit isn't worth the risk, at least according to manager Joe Girardi. Veteran starter CC Sabathia won't make his scheduled start Sunday in San Diego. Rather, his next start will be moved back to Monday in Chicago. Starting in Sabathia's place will be 25-year-old rookie Chad Green, who is with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The concern with Sabathia isn't actually hitting so much as everything else that goes into batting. Sabathia is a lifetime .219 hitter with three home runs -- not an awful mark for a pitcher who has spent most of his career in the American League -- but letting Sabathia run the bases is too much of a risk in Girardi's mind, even if the bat is there.
"If we can avoid CC having to run the bases and hit -- if you remember, that's how he got hurt in Milwaukee -- we choose to do that," Girardi said.
Girardi said he was a little concerned to relay this news to Sabathia, given how fond Sabathia is of hitting. However, Girardi said Sabathia was receptive to the idea and understood, remembering the knee injury he suffered in 2014 against the Brewers.
As for the man replacing Sabathia in the rotation, Girardi said Green's callup will more than likely be temporary, filling in for just one day rather than joining the Yanks' rotation as a sixth starter. This will be Green's second Major League start and, oddly, his second in an NL ballpark. Green's MLB debut came in Phoenix against the D-backs on May 16. He allowed six runs (four earned) in four innings of work that day and took the loss in a 12-2 defeat.
With Green, the Yankees have to be hoping he can replicate his Minor League production at the big league level. Green has a 1.54 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP in 14 Triple-A starts this season, marks which rank first and second, respectively, in the International League. And Girardi said he's been told that Green is continuing to get better, improving on his ability to locate his secondary pitches.
"His secondary stuff has continued to improve," Girardi said. "That's important when you get to this level, because you have to be able to throw your breaking ball and your changeup behind in the count to get back in the count. You can't just rely on one pitch. But it has improved. And I'm curious to see it on Sunday."
Sabathia might not be the only veteran the Yanks will be playing without in San Diego. Outfielder Carlos Beltran was out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game Thursday after injuring his hamstring in Tuesday night's loss to the Rangers.
Beltran did enter Thursday's game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning of the Yankees' 2-1 win over the Rangers. Beltran drew a walk and, before he could test the injured hamstring on the basepaths, Girardi yanked him from the game in favor of pinch-runner Starlin Castro.
Girardi said he made it very clear to Beltran what he was and wasn't allowed to do had he made contact with the ball.
"I told him, 'A double is a single, a triple is a double, and if you hit it out of the park, you're allowed to run all the way around,'" Girardi said. "So my guess is he won't be a starter tomorrow. I figured he can swing it, just don't run hard."
Nick Suss is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.