Yankees Daily Briefing 06/13/11

A.J. Burnett's last start was so bad that he now has the highest ERA among Yankees' starters, at 4.37, and with an ERA+ of 95, could now be considered a below average pitcher. The Yankees will need a better performance from him on Monday, as they'll attempt to sweep a four game series from the Indians. Carlos Carrasco (5-3, 4.52) will start for Cleveland.

1) Results were mixed for Yankees' affiliates.

Dante Bichette, Jr., the top draft pick for the Yankees in 2011, is reportedly close to signing.

Triple-A Scranton beat Syracuse, 5-4.

Jesus Montero did not play; Brian Cashman has said Montero was not in the lineup due to an eye infection, though Montero did pinch hit yesterday.

Kei Igawa set franchise records for innings pitched and home runs allowed.

Double-A Trenton lost to Binghamton 2-1 in 12 innings; High-A Tampa lost 10-5 to Dunedin.

Low-A Charleston beat Greenville 6-4.

Slade Heathcott and Gary Sanchez were both hitless in four at bats; Sanchez struck out three times and allowed a passed ball. J.R. Murphy did not play.

2) Andrew Marchand write's about Freddy Garcia's success when pitching with runners in scoring position. As Marchand notes, the Indians had 10 at bats with RISP on Sunday, and didn't get a single hit.

Garcia has been good for the Yankees this year, giving them quality starts even if his fastball doesn't hit 90 mph. This season, opponents are batting just .158/.254/.351 with RISP, as opposed to .298/.352/.511 with the bases empty. Sample size caveats apply, but he has pitched well in so-called "clutch" situations, and has become the third most effective starter for the Yankees, behind CC Sabathia and Bartolo Colon.

3) John Harper argues that Bartolo Colon's success masked the problem with a thin rotation for the Yankees.

Indeed, it's one thing to have pitching depth, and quite another to need it. Colon, at 5-3 with a 3.10 ERA, has been more successful with the Yankees than almost anyone expected, but his success masked the true cost of losing Phil Hughes. Now Colon, originally signed as a depth move, is no longer available and the Yankees have limited options to replace their second best starter in 2011. Hector Noesi has been impressive in long-relief stints for the Yankees and is already back with the club, but he is still just 24 years old, and, as a starter in the bullpen, has been used irregularly, with long gaps between appearances. Other candidates in Scranton include David Phelps, Adam Warren and D.J. Mitchell, but none of them have ever pitched in the major leagues. It seems more likely that if Colon's injury is serious, the Yankees will have to find his replacement on the trade market -- or else hope that Hughes returns quickly, and replicates his first half success from 2010.

4) Stephen Rhoads at River Ave Blues considers Jason Kubel as a trade target for the Yankees, arguing that if the Yankees are looking for an outfielder, Kubel would both hit righties better and cost less than the much talked about Carlos Beltran. That said, with Curtis Granderson having a career season (at least power-wise), and Brett Gardner hitting .315/.390/.398 since May 1st, another outfielder is not the most pressing need for the Yankees at the moment, even with Nick Swisher's current struggles.