How much longer can the Yankees afford to send Freddy Garcia out for regular and increasingly shorter beatings?

In the aftermath of Saturday's 7-5 loss to the Tigers, Joe Girardi didn't say, though it was clear the struggling righthander could be pulled from the rotation soon enough.

"I can't tell you exactly what we're going to do," Girardi said after Garcia lasted only 12/3 innings for a second straight start. "I'm not going to come to any rash decisions tonight, but obviously we're trying to evaluate what's going on here."

Asked directly about Garcia taking his next turn, Girardi said: "I'm not really saying anything. We'll discuss things as time moves on, but as I said, I like to sleep on things before we do a lot of stuff."

Which was the manager's message in a postgame meeting with Garcia, who fell to 0-2 and saw his ERA balloon to 12.51 after allowing six runs and five hits.

"I'd like to," Garcia said of making his next start. "But I don't know what decision they're going to make. See what happens tomorrow."

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The Stadium crowd of 44,686 let Garcia have it as he left the mound with two outs in the second and the Yankees in a 6-1 hole.

"I like to compete and I'm not competing right now," Garcia said. "You're struggling, struggling, struggling, trying to make it happen, and it doesn't happen."

Garcia said he's fine physically but Girardi said he's not positive of that. He said "you wonder" if Garcia might be hurt, and he'll discuss with trainer Steve Donohue whether the pitcher should undergo any tests. This, after all, was a pitcher who looked pretty good during spring training.

"If we didn't see it in spring training, you'd say, well, maybe it's not going to be there, but it was there," Girardi said, noting a lack of velocity on all of Garcia's pitches. "But for whatever reason, it's not there now."

The Yankees (11-9) were able to come back from a 9-0 deficit a week earlier at Fenway in Garcia's previous start, but Tigers starter Drew Smyly made sure a dramatic comeback didn't occur on back-to-back weekends.

The Yankees did, however, score three runs in the ninth against Jose Valverde. They got the tying run to the plate, but pinch hitter Eric Chavez flied out to deep right to end it.

Nick Swisher hit two home runs, one from each side of the plate, but after his first-inning blast, Smyly (1-0, 1.23) didn't allow another hit until Alex Rodriguez's single to lead off the seventh. Smyly, a rookie, allowed two hits and one run in six innings.

"They hadn't seen him, and that helps," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "But I don't want to take anything away from him. He was terrific."

Garcia decidedly was not. Once again, however, the bullpen was, with Clay Rapada, David Phelps and Cody Eppley -- who gave up the lone run of the trio -- mostly keeping the Tigers (11-10) in check.

Girardi said that if Garcia doesn't take his next turn, Phelps will be a candidate. The rookie righthander did not allow a hit and struck out two in three innings, lowering his ERA to 3.57.

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Curtis Granderson's seventh homer of the season in the seventh, off former Yankees lefthander Phil Coke, made it 6-2, but Miguel Cabrera smacked his seventh of the year in the eighth for a 7-2 lead.

After Swisher's homer in the ninth made it 7-3, Granderson drove in A-Rod with a two-out single and pinch hitter Raul Ibañez doubled home Granderson to make it 7-5.

Almost none of that, though, was covered afterward.

"It's frustrating for the player, it's frustrating for us," Girardi said of Garcia. "We all know Freddy's better than what he's shown. We saw it all last year."