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Can Yankees allow Freddy to start again? Probably not

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider
NEW YORK -- The Yankees have never had a starting pitcher fail to make it out of the second inning in three straight starts.

Usually, they don't get a chance.

You have to believe that Freddy Garcia won't, either, after he was awful again in Saturday's 7-5 Yankee loss to the Tigers.

"I can't really tell you exactly what we're going to do," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

I can tell you exactly what Garcia has done. In four starts, he has a 12.51 ERA, the worst of any major-league starter. In the last two starts, he has faced 24 batters and allowed 14 of them to reach base, with 11 of them scoring.

Girardi openly speculated Saturday that Garcia could be hurt, although he said he hadn't asked the pitcher about his health. He spoke about him in the way a manager speaks about a pitcher who is coming out of the rotation.

Garcia spoke the same way.

"It's troubling, and really frustrating," he said.

The Yankees seemed to have a surplus of starting pitching this spring, but they're a little short on it now. Michael Pineda is out for the year with a shoulder injury that requires surgery, and they plan to give Andy Pettitte two more minor-league starts before bringing him to the big leagues.

Girardi didn't rule out David Phelps as a possible Garcia replacement.

The last Yankee starter to have two straight starts where he didn't finish two innings was Chien-Ming Wang in April 2009. He was pulled from the rotation and sent to Tampa to "work on things," and later that year he was discovered to have a shoulder injury that required surgery.

Before Wang, the last Yankee to fail to finish the second in back-to-back starts was Scott Kamieniecki, back in 1996. He actually made one more start before leaving the rotation.

Only two major-league starters failed to finish the second inning in back-to-back starts last year. Brian Matusz and Zach Britton both did it with the Orioles.

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