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Chris Capuano thrilled to be a starting pitcher for the Yankees

Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Chris Capuano pitches

Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Chris Capuano pitches against the Seattle Mariners in a game on Monday, June 23, 2014, in Seattle. Credit: AP / Elaine Thompson

Small world. Veteran lefthander Chris Capuano, who grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts -- "where it's pretty much a 50-50 Red Sox-Yankee split" among fans -- Saturday will be the Yankees' starting pitcher. That's barely four weeks since he was released by the Red Sox during the brief attempt to make him a reliever, which began well but fizzled.

He had signed with Boston as a free agent during the winter as an "opportunity to go home" after pitching for Arizona, Milwaukee, with the Mets and Dodgers through his first nine big-league seasons.

"I was a Red Sox fan growing up," Capuano said. "But my dad was a Yankee fan. So my dad's ecstatic now."

Not that Capuano isn't mighty thrilled himself. At 35, "I'm happy to have the opportunity to be back in the majors and back in the rotation," he said. "And there's so much meaning that comes with being a Yankee."

Since July 4, he had been property of the Colorado Rockies, who sent him to the minors with a plan to make him a starter again.

After four games with Colorado's Tulsa and Colorado Springs affiliates, Capuano expected to be pitching against Pittsburgh in Denver this weekend. Until the Yankees, who have been holding their rotation together with duct tape and rookies, obtained him Thursday for cash considerations.

"He's going to start for us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's used to being a starter, used to logging a lot of innings."

With Capuano immediately plugged into the rotation Saturday, Shane Greene was moved back a day and will start Sunday, followed by David Phelps and Hiroki Kuroda. Chase Whitley will go to the bullpen.

Girardi referred to his newest pitcher as "Cap."

"I asked what people call him," Girardi said. "I can't call him CC, right?"

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