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Saturday, May 18, 2013
Girardi: Phelps is who we thought he was

By Andrew Marchand

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.

David Phelps
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.