CLEVELAND -- After hemming, hawing and evading Monday night, Joe Girardi made official what should have been obvious after Shane Greene shut the Indians down to two runs and four hits in Monday's 5-3 Yankees win: that the 25-year-old righty will get at least one more start, and probably more than that.
"Shane will pitch on Saturday," Girardi said before Tuesday's game against the Indians at Progressive Field. "Right now, he’s in our rotation. This is what it is through the All-Star break."
Since the break comes on Sunday, Girardi is really only committing to Greene for one more start, against the Orioles at Camden in the second-to-last game before the four-day recess. But unless GM Brian Cashman pulls another starter out of his sleeve, the Yankees' rotation will be Masahiro Tanaka, Hiroki Kuroda, David Phelps, Greene and newcomer Brandon McCarthy, who will start Wednesday, for the foreseeable future.
To clear space on the roster, the Yankees sent reliever Bruce Billings back to Triple-A Scranton, and will shuffle Chase Whitley, who pitched very well in emergency duty for seven starts before faltering in his last two, to long relief duty.
"We liked what we saw," Girardi said of Greene, who mixed a 96 mph fastball with a 91 mph sinker and a sharp 84 mph slider to earn his first major league win. "We knew he had that potential. He’s got good movement on his fastball. I think that was pretty evident yesterday. They didn’t square up a lot of balls."
Greene, not a talkative type, took the news in stride when Girardi told him as he headed out to do his pregame stretch.
"I'm sure I'll be more relaxed next time," he said. "So that should help."
Not that he needed very much Monday night.
Carlos better: Carlos Beltran reported his leg injury, which really hasn't been given a name, was "much better" Tuesday, although not well enough for him to be in the lineup. Instead, Beltran took pregame batting practice and said he thought he was available to pinch hit tonight and expected to be in the lineup Wednesday.
Playing short: The Yankees have not added a position player since designating Alfonso Soriano for assignment on Sunday, and Girardi said there was no immediate plan to. "As of right now, we’re going to stick with the eight–man bullpen," he said, probably because of all the inexperienced pitchers in his starting rotation. That means tonight's bench is Beltran, Brendan Ryan and Francisco Cervelli, and the manager would hesitate to use his backup catcher unless absolutely necessary.
Alone at the top: Tanaka is the majors' only 12-game winner and tries to become its only 13-game winner tonight. The Yankees are 13-4 in his 17 starts and 32-39 when anyone else starts.