Girardi: Phelps is who we thought he was

May, 18, 2013
5/18/13
5:45
PM ET
Joe Girardi won't come out and say it. It is not the manager's style to anoint anyone until he has to, but it is clear David Phelps is putting a tight grasp on a starting spot in the rotation.

[+] EnlargeDavid Phelps
Debby Wong/USA TODAY Sports David Phelps (2-2) allowed one run over seven innings on Saturday.
"We have always envisioned him as a starter," Girardi said after Phelps' latest strong outing, a seven-inning, one-run, seven-hit, three-walk and eight-strikeout win over the Jays. "From time he came up that is what we have envisioned him as. It is not just that he is able to locate and change speeds. He does all the other little things right, too. ... We like what he is doing."

How could they not? Phelps said he came out a little too geeked up in the first and he got into trouble. After a strikeout, he walked two straight batters. He went on to strike out J.P. Arencibia. With Adam Lind up, Phelps did one of those little things Girardi spoke about by picking off Jose Bautista at second.

When Andy Pettitte comes back, he will return to the rotation, but Ivan Nova is in serious jeopardy of ending up in Triple-A again or, at best, the bullpen.

NOT HAF BAD: Travis Hafner, after missing five games, hit an eighth-inning homer. Girardi thought rest did Hafner's shoulder some good.

"The first ball, he hit a bullet up the middle," Girardi said of Hafner, who finished 1-for-4. "He hit a homer foul. I think you could see there is a difference. The last couple of weeks, he has been playing with a little bit of soreness. There didn't just seem to be the same whip, but it is back."

GRANDY IN RIGHT: Curtis Granderson, playing right field for the first time, had no issues. He caught two balls, including the final out of the game.
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

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.77 141 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146