- Andrew Marchand, ESPN Senior Writer
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NEW YORK -- You think you were surprised that Chris Capuano is starting on Saturday against the Blue Jays? Check out how Capuano felt:
“If you told me about 25 hours ago, I wouldn’t have believed you,” said Capuano, who was acquired from the Rockies for cash late Thursday afternoon.
An All-Star in 2006 and a solid Met in 2011, Capuano had a 4.55 ERA for the Red Sox in 25 relief appearances in 2014 before being released.
“He is probably used to being more of a starter than a reliever,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We are confident, he can pitch extremely well for us and help us out.”
Girardi likes the idea of having a lefty in the Yankees’ rotation. The move means that Chase Whitley is shifting to the bullpen. Girardi plans on utilizing Whitley in a variety of relief roles, including as a long man. Whitley is 4-3 with a 4.60 ERA. In his last start against the Rangers, he threw six scoreless innings.
The 35-year-old Capuano started the year very well with Boston out of the bullpen, not allowing a run in his first 14 1/3 innings. In May he had a 4.05 ERA in 13 1/3 innings before falling apart in June, allowing 10 runs in four innings. Capuano said his time with the Red Sox was good, but he was released after a bad week.
“Being in the bullpen should be less taxing on your arm, but I found the routine, the volume of throwing, seemed to be more to me,” Capuano said.
The Rockies picked Capuano up and were building up his arm strength as a starter in the minors. But Capuano is excited to have now been a Red Sox and a Yankee in the same year.
“I grew up in Springfield, Mass., where it is pretty much a 50-50 Red Sox-Yankees split,” Capuano said. “To have the opportunity to play for both teams in one year, I think it is unique and pretty special. More than anything I’m just excited to be back in the big leagues and starting.”
So who did Capuano root for growing up?
“I was a Red Sox fan growing up,” Capuano said. “My dad was a Yankee fan. My dad is ecstatic.”
Capuano seems pretty happy, as well.