NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Desperate for anything resembling pitching, the Yankees looked West on Friday and found some relief.
With 80 percent of their rotation on the disabled list and some of their valued relievers in danger of being overworked, the Bombers acquired 33-year-old southpaw Jeff Francis from the Oakland Athletics.
The move came on the heels of the injury to ace Masahiro Tanaka. The Japanese right-hander has a small tear in the ulnar-collateral ligament in his right elbow and will miss at least the next six weeks, with “Tommy John” reconstructive surgery remaining a possibility down the road.
Tanaka’s injury is by far the biggest blow to a starting five that has already lost Ivan Nova (Tommy John surgery), CC Sabathia (degenerative knee) and Michael Pineda (back). The 25-year-old rookie released a statement on Friday, which said in part: “I want to apologize to the Yankees organization, my teammates and our fans for not being able to help during this time. I accept this injury as a challenge, but I promise to do everything I can to overcome this setback and return to the mound as soon as possible.”
Francis was selected No. 9 overall by the Colorado Rockies in the 2002 first-year player draft and went 44-32 over his first three seasons before arm problems set in. He has since pitched for Kansas City, Cincinnati and Oakland, and is 70-80 with a 4.95 ERA over 10 major league seasons.
Francis went 0-1 with a 6.08 ERA in 13 1/3 innings for the A’s before being designated for assignment on July 3.
Francis will likely be used as both a reliever and spot starter. Matt Thornton, who was signed during the offseason to be the Yankees’ lefty specialist, had allowed just one run over his previous 19 appearances before allowing two earned in one-third of an inning during the Yankees’ 9-3 loss in Cleveland on Thursday night.
The Yankees (46-45) were to open a three-game series in Baltimore against the AL East-leading Orioles on Friday night.
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