MINNEAPOLIS - In a stretch of 13 straight games without a day off and six straight after that, the Yankees are tweaking their rotation, mostly to give Masahiro Tanaka an extra day's rest.
Joe Girardi said before Saturday night's game that Ivan Nova will start Monday night's game in Arlington against the Rangers, followed by a pitcher to be determined Tuesday, Tanaka on Wednesday and Michael Pineda on Thursday. Tuesday would have been Tanaka's fifth day, but the Yankees have had him take only one start this season on four days' rest.
"It's a long stretch and we're getting where guys are getting a lot of innings," Girardi said.
Girardi said if long men Adam Warren and Chris Capuano are not needed in the Twins series, one of them could get the start Tuesday, with each capable of going about 50 pitches. Top pitching prospect Luis Severino started Friday night and is not an option, nor is Bryan Mitchell, scheduled to start Saturday.
"A lot of it depends on what happens the next couple of days," Girardi said.
Tanaka took his last start on five days' rest and allowed three runs and five hits in 72/3 innings. Before that, he had seven days between outings because of the All-Star break. With his injury history -- he missed 2½ months last season with a slight tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament and had a strained right forearm and right wrist tendinitis earlier this season -- the Yankees are paying close attention to his innings, now at 812/3.
"I can't tell you how many times we'll do it," Girardi said of making sure Tanaka pitches with at least one extra day's rest. "But it's always a consideration . . . He's pitched pretty well on that extra day's rest. We want to protect him and Michael and CC and everyone."
Goody up, Pinder down
The Triple-A shuttle, which has brought several rookies to the big leagues this season to make their debuts, was active again Saturday. One of them, Branden Pinder, who has posted a 2.92 ERA in 11 appearances, was sent down and righthander Nick Goody, who was in big-league camp with the club, was called up.
"I liked what I saw in spring training from him," Girardi said of Goody. "As I told Branden, go continue to pitch well and you'll be back."
Mitchell, Jacob Lindgren, Danny Burawa and Nick Rumbelow are among the slew of young pitchers who have gotten opportunities with the Yankees this season, and the 24-year-old Goody, who started the season with Double-A Trenton and posted a 1.73 ERA in 29 games before earning a promotion to Triple-A, said he took notice of the shuttle.
"You always want to think you'll be the next call, and that's why you play the game, to be the next call," he said. "You would like to think you have a chance. It's a pretty awesome experience."
General manager Brian Cashman said last week not to expect anything big in terms of acquisitions before Friday's non-waiver trade deadline, and he apparently is giving off the same vibe to opposing teams. Which means that as of now, top prospects Severino, Aaron Judge and Greg Bird are off limits. "They don't want to give up anybody," one opposing team executive said. "They just don't want to give up any of these prospects."