Notes: Igawa shipped to Triple-A
Torre won't announce rotation replacement until next week
BALTIMORE -- Yankees left-handed starter Kei Igawa settled down after allowing a four-run second inning in his last start against the Royals on Thursday, but it wasn't enough to keep the Bombers from sending him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday.Because the team has an off-day Monday, manager Joe Torre won't need to use a fifth starter until Aug. 3, so he'll decide who will fill Igawa's spot sometime next week.
Torre said Igawa, who signed a five-year deal in January, didn't progress the way he should have in his time with the parent club."I just felt he needed to be more consistent," Torre said. "We basically told him that we felt he didn't move forward and he needed to do more of that in just locating his pitches and getting the ball down." Igawa posted a 6.79 ERA in 11 starts and hasn't won a game since April 28. In Thursday's loss to the Royals, he left after allowing five runs in 5 2/3 innings. That game marked the fourth straight outing in which he didn't last into the sixth inning. In eight seasons pitching in Japan, Igawa was 86-60 with a 3.15 ERA, and he showed glimpses of his talent at times this year. Torre said he gave Igawa specific instructions as to what he needs to work on in his time away from the Yankees. "He's just going to have to be comfortable with the mechanics," Torre said. "When you start thinking about mechanical stuff, it really makes it tougher to do what you're doing because the game doesn't allow you to slow it down." Igawa said last week that he attributes some of his problems to not knowing enough about opposing hitters, but Torre said that shouldn't be an issue. "Basically, pitchers have always been encouraged to play catch with the catcher and not concern themselves as much with the hitter as much as the target," Torre said. "I think what he needs to do is just get it to the point where he can do what he does and not concern himself with the result. He just needs to be consistent with what he does." Igawa released a statement about his move to the Minors, saying, "I'm going to continue to work hard in Triple-A. Each time I pitch, I'm learning more about what it takes to become a consistent pitcher in this league." Basak beckoned: Infielder Chris Basak was recalled from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday to fill the roster spot opened by Igawa's departure. Basak hit .257 with 18 doubles, six home runs and 31 RBIs in 71 games in Triple-A this year. He's appeared four games with New York this season and went 0-for-1 from the plate. "He gives us flexibility in case we decide that [Derek] Jeter or Alex [Rodriguez] needs a DH day," said Torre. "It's more of a backup role." Rodriguez and Jeter had each played in 101 of the Yankees' 102 games this year entering Friday, and Torre said he is considering giving his start players a well-deserved breather. "I think it would help," Torre said. "Something like that would give them a little break and give them the chance to recoup. When you play every day you don't have a chance to do that." Catching on: Torre said he may use starting catcher Jorge Posada in only two of the team's three games against Baltimore this weekend. He said he would start newly acquired backstop Jose Molina on Sunday afternoon if he wanted to give Posada a day off. Molina went 2-for-4 in Sunday's loss, his first game with the Yankees, and has hit safely in 26 of his 38 starts at catcher this season. Happy birthday: A-Rod hit a milestone without even touching a bat, as the Yankees' All-Star third baseman turned 32 on Friday. He has 499 career home runs, standing one homer away from becoming the 22nd player in Major League history to reach the 500 mark. Wednesday, before he turned 32, Rodriguez hit a home run to become the only player to hit 35 homers and 100 RBIs in 10 consecutive seasons (1998-2007). All-Star art: The Yankees, along with Major League Baseball and the city of New York, will unveil the official 2008 All-Star Game logo and present other details of the 2008 All-Star Summer in a press conference at Yankee Stadium at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Quotable: "He would say, 'Give me the ball.'" -- Torre, on whether closer Mariano Rivera could pitch in both the continuation of the game suspended June 28 and the regularly scheduled contest against Baltimore on Friday Up next: The Yanks play the middle stanza of their three-game set in Baltimore on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET, when Roger Clemens (3-4, 3.72 ERA) makes his 10th start of the season. Young lefty Brian Burres (4-4, 4.33 ERA) will go for the Orioles.
Geremy Bass is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.