TAMPA, Fla. — Masahiro Tanaka wasn’t the only pitcher Joe Girardi applied some pressure to Monday.
Though on the surface, CC Sabathia all but nailed down the fifth starter’s job with his solid performance Thursday night — coupled with Ivan Nova’s poor outing Friday — and could put it in stone with a good outing Tuesday in a split- squad game against the Pirates, Girardi said that’s not the case.
“I wouldn’t say that,” said Girardi, who will stay back in Tampa to watch Sabathia rather than travel to nearby Clearwater to see Tanaka. “We’ve talked all along that it’s a competition, and we’re looking at a lot of different things.”
Nova, who allowed six runs (five earned) and six hits, including three homers, in 4 2⁄3 innings against the Orioles, will start tomorrow against the Braves. Sabathia’s ERA is 5.84 and Nova’s is 5.50.
The thought has been that the Yankees won’t banish Sabathia, 35, who has no career regular-season relief appearances, to the bullpen instead of Nova, a free agent at season’s end. Said Girardi, “There will be a lot of discussions, healthy discussions, about what we feel the best thing is to do.”
Luis Cessa, who has impressed opposing team scouts and the Yankees and is in competition for a bullpen spot, started Monday night’s 3-2 victory over the Tigers and allowed one hit and one walk with four strikeouts in three scoreless innings. Cessa, acquired from the Tigers as part of the Justin Wilson trade, lowered his ERA to 2.70. Johnny Barbato stayed in the mix for a bullpen spot with a scoreless inning, lowering his ERA to 1.86 . . . Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect fifth, giving him 10 strikeouts in 5 1⁄3 innings.