Adam Warren took the ball last night for the Yankees against the Rays, but one has to wonder if his days in the starting rotation are numbered. Warren has not been terrible in his seven starts in 2015, pitching to a 2-2 record with a 4.50 ERA, however, he will likely be a victim of his own versatility. His success last season as late inning reliever makes him an enticing bullpen option once other injured starters return.
Masahiro Tanaka took a step forward Tuesday throwing a 30 pitch bullpen session without reporting any problems. Although he is likely at least two weeks away Tanaka will certainly be given a rotation spot as soon as he ready. Ivan Nova threw 3 innings in an extended spring training game as he continues to work his way back from Tommy John surgery. Chris Capuano is nearing a return after giving up 2 runs over 6 innings for AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Tuesday afternoon.
If Warren intends to keep his spot in the rotation he needs to show the Yankees that he can pitch deeper into games. His most recent start was the first where he pitched more than 5 and two-thirds innings this season. If he cannot give the Yankees length he may provide the team more value as a short reliever. Chase Whitley or Capuano can match Warren’s production as a fifth starter, but neither profiles as a power arm in the pen.
No Yankee reliever has proven to be a second dependable late inning righty behind Dellin Betances. David Carpenter was expected to fill that role but he has struggled in this young season pitching to a 4.97 ERA in 13 appearances. Chris Martin seemed to have gained Joe Girardi's trust, but was recently placed on the 15 day DL with elbow tendinitis. Returning Warren to the role he flourished in last season might be the Bombers best option.
Adam Warren doesn't necessarily deserve to lose in spot in the rotation, but if the Yankees want to maximize the talent on their pitching staff a move to the pen looks to be in order.