Notes: Rasner, DeSalvo to get starts
Top prospect Hughes sent to disabled list with hamstring injury
ARLINGTON -- The merry-go-round known as the Yankees' starting pitching staff could not be more appropriately labeled.
Three words: rotation, rotation, rotation.
Next up, Darrell Rasner and Matt DeSalvo. Rasner, who made the roster as a fifth starter and long reliever out of Spring Training, will start Sunday against the Mariners. DeSalvo will start Monday in the series finale against Seattle, making his Major League debut.
The latest of several injuries to the Yankees pitching staff came Tuesday when Phil Hughes strained his left hamstring. Hughes was officially placed on the disabled list before Thursday's game, becoming the seventh pitcher to go on the disabled list this season.
Pitcher Chris Britton was recalled from Triple-A Scranton for the first game of Thursday's doubleheader. He was expected to be optioned back to Scranton between games to make room for Mike Mussina to start Game 2.
Neither Rasner nor DeSalvo are currently on the roster, so additional moves will be needed before their starts.
Rasner has gone 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA during 14 innings in three games pitched for the Yankees this year. He has been impressive since being optioned to Scranton, going 1-0 and not allowing a run in eight innings during his two appearances. He has walked two batters and struck out three.
As for DeSalvo, he is 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA in five starts for Scranton, pitching 5 2/3 scoreless innings in his last appearance Tuesday. That's quite an improvement considering last season, when DeSalvo sported a 1-6 record and a 7.68 ERA at Triple-A Columbus and went 5-4 with a 5.77 ERA at Double-A Trenton.
"We have been real high on him. Last year, he had a tough year," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "He got after it. He didn't let last year's experience deter him, and he came in with a lot of resolve this spring to get it going in the right direction."
Overall, DeSalvo has walked 13 batters and struck out 23 in 25 2/3 innings pitched for the Minor League club this year. The Yankees will have to make room on the 40-man roster for DeSalvo.
"He opened everybody's eyes in the spring," Cashman said.
He said it: "That's what this game is all about -- being able to repeat. That's when you start relying on people. Not that they don't give you a good effort, but it's that the results, the stuff, the command and all that stuff are there on a regular basis. That's what we are looking for right now." -- Yankees manager Joe Torre, on Friday starter Kei Igawa
More Miller: Former Yankees director of performance enhancement Marty Miller released the following statement Thursday:
"I was given the opportunity of a lifetime to work with the New York Yankees. Although many differing factors are at play when conditioning athletes at this level, I will never be one to skirt responsibility.
"Although I leave with a heavy heart, I continue to respect and appreciate Brian Cashman, Joe Torre and the entire Yankees organization. Some of the results were not what any of us wanted, but it certainly wasn't for a lack of preparation or dedication on my part. However disappointed I am, life is a long series of hills and valleys, and it's how you deal with those valleys that I think goes a long way in defining a person."
Miller was relieved of his duties Wednesday morning. His short stint with the Yankees was marred with several injuries to players, primarily hamstring strains.
Being Bobby: Yankees right fielder Bobby Abreu is the first to admit his season has not gone as planned so far, but says he is not panicking just yet.
He says everything is "chevere," Spanish slang for "cool," despite coming into Thursday's game with three hits in his last 36 at-bats.
"The most important thing for me is to be healthy," Abreu said. "The numbers will come. To win is the top goal in this game. If you start thinking about your statistics all the time, you will go crazy. I don't think about it. I know if I do what I have to do, I will be fine."
Torre remains optimistic, encouraged by Abreu's recent at-bats.
"He's such a pure hitter. He's been fighting," Torre said. "I think a big part of it is when you are losing and someone is in a slump, the game tends to speed up and they are not as selective as they normally are. I think that was Bobby's problem.
"He's important for us. In the middle of the lineup where he sits, he's a table-setter for us most of the time."
Eyes on Sosa: If Rangers outfielder Sammy Sosa reaches the 600-home run mark this season, the feat will not go unnoticed by third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Sosa entered Thursday's game with 595 home runs and is on the cusp of making history by becoming the first Latin player to reach the 600-home run mark.
Rafael Palmeiro is the only other Latin player to hit at least 500 home runs. Sosa was also the first Latin player to hit 500 homers.
"It's extremely significant," Rodriguez said. "For him to be the first Latin player and Dominican, for me, it makes me feel proud because No. 1, he's my friend, that he's Dominican, and he's played with so much passion. Sammy has been an unbelievable ambassador for the game for a real long time. He's one of my favorite players."
Rodriguez entered Thursday's doubleheader with 478 home runs and is the youngest player ever to hit 450 home runs. That said, he's not preoccupied with reaching milestones at the moment.
"I have got to this point, but I try not to think ahead too much," he said. "I focus on today's game. You always have a mission on your plate everyday. I never think about next year or what could be."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.