Well, it's official. Freddy Garcia has been demoted to the bullpen, as the Yankees have decided to put David Phelps in the rotation. The latest news is that David Phelps will start on Thursday night vs. the Kansas City Royals.
Phelps' role of long relief man (essentially long relief for Freddy Garcia) will now go to either Freddy Garcia, or recent call up D.J. Mitchell.
The Yankees will certainly mess up a few times with using Garcia and Mitchell in the right spots, but I trust Joe Girardi to use Mitchell and Garcia the right way. What is the right way to use the pair, you ask?
For Garcia, the best role right now is the role formerly given to Cody Eppley. Essentially a mop up role, Eppley pitched mainly in innings that didn't matter in blowouts, which is a perfect spot for Garcia to figure out his problems right now. Garcia can NOT be given any important innings with the way he is pitching right now. Simply put, if Garcia comes in in a close game, the Yankees are mismanaging him.
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As for D.J. Mitchell, the best role for him is the role formerly given to David Phelps, who is now in the Yankees rotation. Mitchell will make his MLB debut whenever he gets in a game, and while the Phelps role does include pressure, Mitchell appears to be ready for the big leagues. The Phelps role includes coming in for multiple innings whenever a pitcher cannot give the Yankees a quality start, and managing to keep the Yankees in the game.
There's a stronger need for the Yankees to fill the Phelps role than the Eppley role right now, and Mitchell appears to be the less risky pitcher. When Andy Pettitte eventually returns, either Phil Hughes or David Phelps will go to the bullpen, which will leave the Yankees with more options.
As of right now it looks like D.J. Mitchell and Freddy Garcia will be fighting for their spots in the majors, and knowing the Yankees it looks like Garcia will be given the upper hand. Hopefully Mitchell is given the Phelps role over the struggling Freddy Garcia, but only time will tell!