Yankees' long reliever options with Nuno and Phelps forced into the rotation

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With Vidal Nuno and David Phelps taking spots in the rotation, who will be the Yankees long relievers?

After the events of the past few days, including Ivan Nova's partially torn UCL, and Michael Pineda's pine tar incident, the Yankees have had no choice but to fill in some spots in the rotation. Vidal Nuno will take Nova's spot, at least for the time being, and David Phelps appears to be the pitcher who will take Pineda's spot during his suspension. As a result, the bullpen is going to be seriously lacking in terms of a long reliever.

While Pineda is suspended, the Yankees cannot replace him on the roster, which makes him dead weight. Of the players currently on the 25-man roster, Shane Greene and Bruce Billings are the only long relievers. Neither have pitched very well since being called up. Billings pitched last night, and gave up four earned runs (two of them home runs) through 4 innings pitched. Greene pitched during the last series against the Red Sox, when he walked three batters, and was only able to record one out before being pulled from the game. Greene wasn't charged with the three runs that went on to score, thanks to an error by Derek Jeter. The remaining pitchers on the 40-man roster are either on the DL or are not long relievers, so the Yankees would need to DFA Greene or Billings in order to call someone else up.

If the Yankees do decide to DFA someone, we could very well see our old friend Alfredo Aceves called up. He's been pitching well in the rotation down in Triple-A. Through 9 innings (two starts), he's given up six hits, no runs, and two walks. He also struck out nine. Since he's a former Yankee with experience, he would probably be first in line to be called up. Chase Whitley could also be an option, as they've been stretching him out. Interestingly, Whitley bombed his first two outings, giving up four runs through 4.2 combined innings, but hasn't allowed any runs through his last 10 innings pitched. He has a 2.45 ERA and 17 strikeouts through 14.2 IP. 2011 Yankee, Brian Gordon, is also available as a long reliever. Through 21 innings, Gordon has allowed 19 hits and six earned runs. He also walked nine batters and notched 12 strikeouts.

Provided that the Yankees want to keep Phelps no matter what, they really only need a long reliever to fill in for him while Pineda is suspended. Of these options, I might lean towards Aceves, since he seems to be pitching the best. Although, nearly everyone the Yankees have called up to pitch have not pitched well (Greene, Billings, Matt Daley) anyway, so maybe they should roll the dice on Whitley.

Do you think they'll keep Greene and Billings as the long relievers, or DFA one (or both) to call someone else up? If so, who do you think would get the call?

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