NEW YORK -- In a move that was guarded more closely than many state secrets, the Yankees announced that Esmil Rogers will get the start in place of the injured David Phelps Friday night in the opener of a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians.
The decision was announced about two hours after the Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers, 1-0, to take 3 of 4 from the AL Central division leaders and their three former Cy Young Award winning starters.
The choice of Rogers, a 28-year-old right-hander who was claimed off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays on July 31, came as a mild surprise since he has not started a game in the major leagues since May 21. But Rogers made seven starts for the Blue Jays Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, going 2-2 with a 3.14 ERA. He has also made two relief appearances for the Yankees, pitching four scoreless, one-hit innings in which he struck out five.
Rogers left the clubhouse Thursday night without having been told he would start on Friday, but said he was capable of throwing at least five innings on Friday night. He also left with what appeared to be scouting reports under his arm, just in case.
The only other candidate on the roster appeared to be Chase Whitley, who made 12 starts earlier in the season as an emergency fill-in after the Yankees lost starters Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia to injury. There was also the possibility the Yankees might have called someone up from Triple-A, perhaps Bryan Mitchell, if they had used either Rogers, Whitley, or both in Thursday's game.
But Shane Greene's eight-inning performance Thursday allowed the Yankees to choose from within.
And they chose Rogers.