Igawa to 'pen; Kennedy to be recalled
Yankees adjust rotation with rainout; Rasner to start Friday
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Yankees have shipped Kei Igawa off to their bullpen and plan to recall rookie Ian Kennedy from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to start on Thursday against the Rays.
Kennedy was lifted after throwing one inning at Indianapolis on Monday. The Yankees wanted Kennedy to take one more turn against live batters and waited to make an official announcement until Kennedy came out fine physically.
"We're going to give him another shot," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We felt pretty good about his last start, and he threw one inning today, 12 pitches, seven strikes. He knows he's got a chance to get on a roll."
The earliest the Yankees could move to recall Kennedy would be Wednesday, given that he was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on May 4. Girardi announced the Igawa move before Monday's game, a shift the club was able to execute because of their rainout on Sunday at Detroit.
Instead of having right-hander Darrell Rasner pitch on Thursday at Tropicana Field, he will now open the Subway Series against the Mets on Friday, followed by Andy Pettitte and Chien-Ming Wang in the three-game set at Yankee Stadium.
"He's been in it. We like the way he's throwing the ball," Girardi said of Rasner, who has logged victories in his first two starts for New York.
Igawa started on Friday at Comerica Park in Detroit, making his 2008 season debut in place of Kennedy, who was demoted to Triple-A after going 0-2 with a 8.37 ERA in his first six appearances of the year.
Igawa was not much of an improvement, allowing six earned runs in three-plus innings and suffering a loss to the Tigers. Kennedy has shown signs of turning his season around at Triple-A, allowing no runs on two hits over 8 1/3 innings while walking none and striking out eight.
Girardi said that Igawa's role in the bullpen is mainly as a long reliever, where he coincidentally turned in his best big league outing to date. Igawa entered an April 28, 2007, game against the Red Sox in relief of the injured Jeff Karstens and threw six scoreless innings to record the victory in a 3-1 Yankees decision.
"I could see using him in long relief," Girardi said. "However we need him, we'll use him. Right now, he's going to go to the bullpen. I don't know if I would use him left-on-left. It's something we'll think about."
Igawa was brought to the United States at a total cost of $46 million before the 2007 season, with New York paying a $26 million posting fee to obtain Igawa's rights from the Hanshin Tigers of the Japanese Central League, and then signing the 28-year-old to a five-year, $20 million contract.
Girardi said Igawa's current situation reminded him some of former Yankees reliever Ramiro Mendoza, but said that Igawa's future with New York would not necessarily be in relief.
"I see him as a starter more than anything," Girardi said. "That's just my opinion. I think the investment was for him to be a starter, and I think for the organization ... we'll probably try to continue to work on that at some point."
Rasner will be facing the same club that prematurely ended his 2007 season. He drew a May 17 start at Shea Stadium against the Mets and allowed two earned runs on two hits without retiring a batter.
The second batter Rasner faced, Endy Chavez, hit a bouncer back to the pitcher's mound and fractured Rasner's right index finger, effectively keeping him out of big league action for the rest of the season, though he did make a handful of Minor League appearances in hopes of being activated in September.
"I'm excited about any chance to go out there," Rasner said. "It's going to be good. They're both good teams, so I'm looking forward to it."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.