SAN DIEGO -- The Yankees summoned Chad Green to make a spot start so they would not have to risk having CC Sabathia run the bases during an Interleague matchup at Petco Park. By doing so, they may have discovered a solution for the ailing corners of their rotation.
Green picked up his first Major League victory on Sunday with a sharp six-inning effort, helping the Yankees win the finale of a three-game series with the Padres, 6-3. Green struck out a career-high eight batters in his second big league start and third appearance.
"I'm just trying to make pitches, just trying to throw it to the glove, not trying to do too much," Green said. "I think that's the biggest difference compared to last time."
Green has been working on adding a cutter to his repertoire down at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he had compiled an International League-leading 1.54 ERA in 14 starts. The Yankees were impressed by that, and then were more impressed as he commanded San Diego, limiting them to Yangervis Solarte's second-inning solo homer.
"He was great," Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "When I was rehabbing in Scranton, I got to see him pitch and I just saw him dominate down there. When I came back up here, I was telling everyone, 'That guy's got the best stuff of anyone in Triple-A,' and he showed it today. He really did a great job for us, and we needed a big pitching performance today."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said it was too soon to determine whether Green would get another start, but the 25-year-old at least gives them a potential option with right-handers Nathan Eovaldi and Ivan Nova having struggled of late.
"We saw him throw his offspeed over, behind in the count, what we talked about that he needed to do when he went down," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "And I thought he had a good fastball. He used a bunch of different ones, different velocity. I thought he was really good today."
Green even helped himself out of a jam in the fourth inning, snaring Alex Dickerson's hot line drive up the middle as an act of self-preservation, then whirling to nab Solarte at second base for an inning-ending double play.
"I always thought I could get out big league hitters, but it's nice to have the reassurance I guess, especially since I don't have that many innings up here," Green said. "It's nice to get that first one."
The Yankees acquired Green along with right-hander Luis Cessa back in December as part of the trade that sent left-handed reliever Justin Wilson to the Tigers, with general manager Brian Cashman explaining at the time that he felt the need to replenish the organization's upper level starting pitching depth.
He had made his Major League debut on May 16 at Arizona, surrendering six runs (four earned) in four innings while taking the loss. Six weeks later, in another National League West ballpark, Green said that he felt more comfortable and the results showed.
"These guys come up and the first outing, the nerves and expectations, coordinating getting family in and all that stuff, it's a pain in the butt," Yankees reliever Andrew Miller said. "It's a tough situation to pitch in.
"For him to come out today and do what he did, I think it's probably truer to who he is as a pitcher. Everybody that's come up has been raving about how well he's been throwing the ball in Triple-A. It's certainly a positive for us. Great job by him."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.