First Pitch: Could Phelps start this year?

April, 18, 2012
4/18/12
7:00
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On the day Andy Pettitte signed, the Yankees seemingly had seven legit starters. Soon, though, they decided Michael Pineda's lost velocity was due to a sore shoulder.

Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes survived the spring survivor series, but each have two poor starts so far.

Meanwhile, rookie long man David Phelps has looked phenomenal, displaying a more complete arsenal -- four pitches -- than Hughes. Phelps is not starting soon, but it is conceivable that he could be in the rotation at some point this season because he has control of his fastball, curve, slider and change combination.

Long-term, the Yankees look at him as a starter.

"In my mind, I believe he has the ability to be a starter because he is four-pitch guy," Joe Girardi said. "I've never really seen David Phelps start for a long time. What I have seen is a guy who knows how to command the baseball and has different weapons to go to get right-handers and left-handers out."

Phelps has been able to move his fastball wherever he wants, which is a large reason why he has only allowed one hit, a home run, in his first 8 1/3 major league innings. He has struck out nine of his first 25 outs.

"If I were to say anything right now, I would probably envision him as a starter going forward, but it is really early to make that assessment," Girardi said.

UP NOW: I wrote about how Brett Gardner should play against lefties, as he showed on Tuesday night. Matt Ehalt said CC Sabathia had a pretty good start after a bad beginning to pick up his first win.

YANKEE CLASSIC: Here is a picture of the 1912 uniforms the Yankees will wear on Friday to commemorate Fenway's 100 years.

ON DECK: The Yankees and the Twins play Game 3 of their four-game series. Hiroki Kuroda (1-1, 2.63) vs. Jason Marquis (8-6, 4.43 in '11); On Thursday, it is Phil Hughes (0-2, 9.00) vs. Anthony Swazak (0-2, 3.75).

IN THE HOLE: At 10:30 a.m., I will tell you why the Yankees may not be losing the Michael Pineda deal so far. Those of you who follow the minors know where I am going here. At around noon, Mark Simon has his must-read What2Watch4.

At 1 p.m., I'll be chatting Yankees so join me with your questions.

Johnette Howard, Mike Mazzeo and I will be at the Stadium later and on the blog all day.

PROBABLE PITCHER: Look for more on Hughes' situation in Thursday's First Pitch.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Do you think David Phelps will start at some point this year?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146