Vazquez to start on three days' rest
With Jon Lieber and Jorge De Paula on the disabled list, Yankees manager Joe Torre had few options for Sunday. Vazquez pitched eight sharp innings Wednesday night in a victory over the Chicago White Sox.
"He felt good today," Torre said before Friday night's series opener at Yankee Stadium. "Early in the year, I'm not that concerned about it."
The Yankees have a day off on Monday, so the rest of the rotation will not be affected.
When asked if Vazquez would be starting on short rest were the Yankees playing a team other than the rival Red Sox, Torre said, "possibly."
"We would not have done this with Vazquez without the off day on Monday," Torre said.
Lieber, expected to be the team's No. 5 starter, is sidelined with a strained right groin and needs at least one more minor league start before he'll be ready to come off the DL. De Paula had season-ending elbow surgery on Thursday.
Rookie left-hander Alex Graman made his major league debut for the Yankees on Tuesday night against the White Sox, but he gave up five runs and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Left-hander Donovan Osborne will remain in the bullpen as the team's long man.
Vazquez (2-1) started on three days' rest once before, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, allowing three runs in six innings for Montreal in a 5-3 loss to Atlanta on Sept. 25, 1999.
"Whatever I can do to help the team. I feel good. I always feel great on my fourth day," he said. "I told [pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre], if they ever want me to do it that I can."
Vazquez lost to the Red Sox last Friday at Fenway Park, giving up six runs -- four earned -- and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.
"I know what I did wrong in Boston. Hopefully, I can correct it," Vazquez said. "I made a lot of mistake pitches. I was up in the zone a lot. They're a good hitting team and they can hit a fastball."
He will face Martinez (2-1), who makes his first start against the Yankees since blowing a three-run lead in the eighth inning of Game 7 in last year's AL championship series.
"I wish I could be as good a pitcher as he is," Vazquez said. "I admire him."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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