The New York Yankees starting rotation could come into much clearer focus tonight when veteran Bartolo Colon pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays (Game time 7:05 p.m.). Colon is competing with veteran Freddy Garcia and youngster Ivan Nova for one of the two open spots in the rotation.
Colon will be 38 this spring and has not pitched in the big leagues since the middle of the 2009 season, but he has been impressive thus far. In three games he has pitched nine innings, struck out 12, walked just one and allowed three earned runs.
#40 / Pitcher / New York Yankees
May 24, 1973
Nova, 24, has also been impressive, pitching to a 1.29 ERA over 14 innings while striking out seven and allowing just eight hits. Nova pitched 10 games for the Yankees at the end of last season.
#47 / Pitcher / New York Yankees
Jan 12, 1987
Garcia, 34, has the most recent success at the major-league level, having won 12 games for the Chicago White Sox a season ago. He has been the least impressive of the three this spring, however. In four games Garcia has pitched a 5.93 ERA over 13.2 innings.
Garcia, a 12-year veteran with a 133-87 career record, has made it clear he would not accept an assignment to the minor leagues if the Yankees choose Nova and Colon. That, of course, leaves the Yankees with a tough decision.
#36 / Pitcher / New York Yankees
Oct 06, 1976
Do they cut Garcia loose, gambling that what they have seen from Nova -- and especially Colon -- during Spring Training will carry over into the regular season? Do they give Garcia one of the two spots based on what he did a year ago?
What the Yankees see from Colon tonight might go a long way toward helping them make that decision.