Mitre to start against O's Tuesday

Updated: July 18, 2009, 4:41 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Sergio Mitre will become the Yankees' No. 5 starter while Chien-Ming Wang is on the disabled list.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said the team plans to bring up Mitre and start the 28-year-old right-hander against Baltimore on Tuesday night.

Mitre
Mitre

Mitre agreed to a minor league contract with the Yankees during the offseason, then was suspended for the first 50 games after testing positive for a banned substance under the major league drug program.

He was 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts for Class A Tampa and 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA in seven starts at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, pitching eight scoreless innings with five strikeouts and no walks in a 3-2 win over Buffalo on Sunday.

Mitre pitched for Girardi when he managed the Marlins in 2006 and went 5-8 with a 4.65 ERA in a career-high 27 starts for Florida the following year. He missed the 2008 season and had elbow-ligament replacement surgery on July 15 last year.

"He's a sinker, curveball, changeup guy," Girardi said Friday. "His sinker's probably 88-91 [mph]. He's going to throw a lot of strikes; he's going to get a lot of groundballs when he's throwing the ball well. I've always thought he's had kind of a bulldog attitude."

Wang, on the disabled list since July 5 with a right shoulder strain, probably will play catch on flat ground Sunday or Monday.

Alfredo Aceves filled in for Wang with a spot start at Minnesota on July 7 and gave up four runs and four hits in 3 1-3 innings of a 6-4 win. He is 5-1 with a 2.49 ERA in one start and 21 relief appearances.

"Ace is going to stay in the bullpen because we feel that he's just too valuable to take him out of the bullpen right now," Girardi said.

Phil Hughes, who made seven starts before switching to the bullpen on June 8, will stay in a relief role unless another starter gets hurt. He has become Mariano Rivera's primary setup man and has lowered his ERA from 5.45 to 3.76 since moving to the bullpen. His 40 pitches over two scoreless innings in Friday's 5-3 win over Detroit were his most out of the 'pen.

"He's adapted very well. To me, he's actually throwing more strikes down there," Girardi said. "His velocity's went up. I thought his curveball has gotten better and more consistent."

Hughes agrees with the decision not to move him back to the rotation.

"I'd assume I'd have to go down to the minor leagues to get stretched out to do that," he said.

But Girardi doesn't see him staying in the bullpen forever.

"Out of necessity we've put him in the bullpen, and he's excelled at it," he said. "But I think long-term, right now, I mean, we consider him a starter."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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