Joe Girardi addresses Yankees roster moves: David Phelps and Clay Rapada in the bullpen with Francisco Cervelli being optioned to Triple-A

April 5, 2012 – 8:30 am by Steven Cuce

The New York media was all over Joe Girardi for having too many pitchers going into spring training for the starting rotation. At this point in time the Yankees manager already doesn’t have enough starting pitching and the regular season for his team is set to start Friday. It goes to show the baseball world you can never have enough pitching. Michael Pineda is headed to the DL with shoulder tendinitis along with injuries to David Robertson and a potential season ending one to Joba Chamberlain.

The big news for Girardi coming out of camp was the sudden trade for catcher Chris Stewart and fan favorite Francisco Cervelli being optioned to Triple-A. New York elected to go with righty David Phelps and lefty Clay Rapada in the bullpen. Girardi sounds eager to start the regular season and happy with the way spring training turned out.

Joe Girardi joined WFAN in New York with Mike Francesa to discuss the New York Yankees acquiring Chris Stewart as a backup catcher, Francisco Cervelli being optioned to Triple-A, the New York Yankees 2012 opening day roster, Michael Pineda heading to the DL and the projected time table for Andy Pettitte’s return to the Yankees rotation.

You have a new catcher in Chris Stewart who is coming from the Giants and will be the backup. You send Francisco Cervelli to Triple-A. What’s the team’s thoughts on Francisco Cervelli and bringing in Chris Stewart?

“Well we thought we needed to improve our depth with Austin Romine being out a couple of months here with his back issues. We were concerned about our depth and our catching. We know how quick a catcher can be knocked out for a substantial period of time. Chris Stewart was a guy we were able to acquire. Cervelli had some options, so he was the one that kind of had to bite the bullet and was sent down.”

How did Francisco Cervelli take being optioned to Triple-A?

“Probably the way you would expect it: Not too good. It’s hard. He’s been here for awhile and has done a pretty good job for us, but it’s been difficult for him. I told him you are going to be back at some point. You are going to play for a long time. You need to go work and continue to do the things that you do.”

Can you tell us right now who will be the new players on the Yankees roster?

“The two moves of who will be in our bullpen is basically…we are leaning towards David Phelps and Clay Rapada. We have until 5 o’clock and you wait and see what shakes out a little bit and you go from there, but those are the guys we are leaning towards.”

Is the Michael Pineda thing a conditioning issue, a performance issue, or is it all of the above?

“It’s probably a little bit of all the above. When I look at it I am happy with the conditioning he is in. Obviously he was a little bit behind when he got here, but he caught up. As far as his injury? It’s not a bad injury, but is there a good injury in a sense? No. But it’s not something where there are issues with his shoulder that is structural. This should pass. We should get by this and we’ll get him back to rehab and try to get a date where he is starting to throw the baseball and playing catch. We are not quite there, but we are getting there. We are pretty close I think.”

What is the game plan with Andy Pettitte?

“You expect a guy to get six-to-seven starts. That’s a spring training, so he had one inning today. I am not sure if I quite constitute that as a start, but he’s getting close. [Mike Francesa: He looks like he is in great shape] Yeah he is. You know what I think part of it was if you play catch and run around with your sons all day you are going to stay in pretty good shape. That’s the bottom line. When you are throwing BP… [Mike Francesa: Plus Andy is a hard worker] Yes. I think he was running here as a coach. That was funny. He was in our meetings and now we are talking about him, but you expect a good 30 days, getting six starts and seeing where he is at.”

Listen to Joe Girardi on 660 WFAN in New York here

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