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Lefthander Chris Capuano is solid in his first outing for Yankees

Chris Capuano of the Yankees pitches in the

Chris Capuano of the Yankees pitches in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, July 26, 2014. Credit: Jim McIsaac

It was about 1 p.m. last Thursday and Chris Capuano was preparing to throw a bullpen session in Nashville -- on the road with Triple-A Colorado Springs -- when his phone chimed.

It was a text from his agent that read: "Call me! It's important!"

About 12 hours later, Capuano said, he was on a flight to New York.

Before that, Capuano phoned his agent who informed him he had been traded by the Rockies to the Yankees for cash considerations. Yes, he would be slotted into their starting rotation. And, no, not the Staten Island Yankees'.

"It's surreal," Capuano said. "It's an unbelievable opportunity that I didn't think I was gonna have."

That's because the lefthander began the season as a reliever with the Red Sox -- the Massachusetts native said he sacrificed opportunities to start elsewhere in exchange for signing last offseason with his hometown team. But Boston released him July 1, and the Rockies inked him to a minor-league deal three days later.

After leaving Boston, Capuano said, "the goal was to be back in the big leagues as a starter." Sure, the one-time Met had made 209 career starts, but such roles aren't guaranteed for 35-year-old journeymen. Capuano said his contract with the Rockies had an out which stipulated he would have to be called up after four minor-league starts.

"On Tuesday we exercised that [clause]," he said. "The Rockies had 48 hours to bring me up, but they apparently worked out a trade at the last minute."

And 48 hours later, Capuano was on the mound at the Stadium, making his first major-league start Saturday since last August with the Dodgers. His wife traveled with him and his parents -- Yankees fans -- drove from Massachusetts to attend.

"I just wanted to start on a big-league team," Capuano said. "To be on a team like the Yankees, that are in the hunt, is more than I could've hoped for."

And the Yankees' latest buy-low addition provided about as much as they could have hoped. Capuano allowed two runs, fanned four in six innings and took a no-decision in the Yankees' 6-4 loss to the Blue Jays.

Joe Girardi said Capuano "did a really good job" in his first appearance since June 23. For all his laboring -- five hits, four walks and only 53 of his 94 pitches going for strikes -- Capuano turned it over to the bullpen with the score tied at 2.

"I had some nerves going in the beginning and I'm not happy with the four walks," Capuano said, "but I made some good pitches when I had to and I was just thrilled to be out there."

Capuano lowered his ERA to 4.30, but his peripheral numbers this season have been poor. He has a 1.54 WHIP and, according to FanGraphs, batters have swung and missed at only 16 percent of his offerings, which is the lowest rate of his career. Some of that, perhaps, can be attributed to his adjustment to a relief role and the smaller sample sizes. Brandon McCarthy, another reclamation project, is 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA in three starts since being traded to the Yankees.

But for Capuano, a trade from the last-place Rockies to a team in a playoff race and a role in its starting rotation is a prime opportunity.

"That's everything I wanted," he said. "I'm enjoying this."

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