Brandon McCarthy eager to help rotation

Arizona Diamondbacks' Brandon McCarthy throws a pitch to a Washington Nationals batter during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Phoenix. Photo Credit: AP

advertisement | advertise on newsday

CLEVELAND - Brandon McCarthy is not here to save the Yankees' season.

Joe Girardi doesn't believe he is, and neither does Brian Cashman, the man who traded for him Sunday, sending Vidal Nuño to the Diamondbacks in exchange for the 6-7 righthander.

McCarthy isn't playing up expectations, either, certainly a prudent move for someone who was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA for Arizona.

"It would be something after the fact, if the season ended and I realized that I was a guy who helped out, that would be great,'' McCarthy said of potentially being part of the answer to the Yankees' rotation issues.

"Looking at that now, it's too much of a large focus that you're taking too much on yourself. Now, it's just focus on your first pitch tomorrow and the pitch after that, and if it ends up turning into being a help, then all the better.''

McCarthy tried on his new uniform for the first time Tuesday and will throw his first pitch as a Yankee Wednesday night when he takes the mound at Progressive Field against the Indians.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The 31-year-old hopes, as do the Yankees, that a change of scenery will help him rediscover his form from 2011-12 with the A's, when he went 17-15 with a 3.29 ERA.

Lousy numbers this season aside, there are signs McCarthy can be at least part of the answer to the rotation problems. That is in large part because of his 1092/3 innings this season, second on the Yankees behind Masahiro Tanaka's 1291/3 after last night's game.

For that reason, if nothing else, talent evaluators thought the Yankees, considering what they gave up, fleeced Arizona.

"Between him and Nuño, it's not even close,'' an opposing team's talent evaluator said Sunday, shortly after the trade became official. "McCarthy is a legitimate starter. This is a no-lose for the Yankees.''

McCarthy said even when he's not pitching well -- which has occurred plenty the last two seasons -- giving his club distance is an important goal.

"It's something that I try and take pride in, that even if I'm getting hit, just get deep into the game,'' he said. "Usually if I'm getting hit, I'm not throwing a lot of pitches doing it. It's early in counts, so I can still hopefully not tax a bullpen. That's something I would like to continue to do.'

Although "I still give innings while pitching bad'' sounds like a relatively low bar, the reality is that the Yankees, besides Tanaka and, usually, Hiroki Kuroda, have no one they can count on to go at least six innings. Far too often this season, their bullpen has been called on to record 10 or more outs.

"That's one of the reasons we went and got him because we felt he could give us distance,'' Girardi said. "It would help us tremendously, it would help our bullpen, it would help us out a lot.''

McCarthy is the first to acknowledge he hasn't pitched well, but there are some encouraging numbers. His velocity is up this season and he has a 4.65 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which ranks him second among Yankees starters, behind Tanaka's 7.11.

"I pay a lot of attention to sabermetrics and I understand there's a big disparity in what I've done and what should be happening,'' said McCarthy, 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA in his last two starts with Arizona. "The last few times out have been more positive in seeing a chance with what I've done. My goal is to carry that into the second half of the season.''

Subscribe to Newsday’s sports newsletter for stories, photos and videos about your favorite New York teams plus national sports news and events.

Comments now uses Facebook for our comment boards. Please read our guidelines and connect your Facebook account to comment.

You also may be interested in: