Veteran Right-Hander Has Been Godsend To Rotation Decimated By Injuries

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A lot of people shook their heads when the Yankees acquired Brandon McCarthy back in July.

They saw a 3-10 record and 5.01 ERA in the National League and didn’t view the veteran starter as much of an upgrade to a rotation that was in tatters due to an assortment of injuries.

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Six starts later it’s hard to imagine the Yankees being in a playoff race of any kind without him.

McCarthy is 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA in that span as the Bombers have battled inconsistency to stay in the thick of the wild card race with 44 games to play.

McCarthy, who will be a free agent this offseason, recently told Newsday he would love to return to the Bronx next season.

“This is a place, it would be hard to turn down,” McCarthy said. “There’s nothing that doesn’t line up with my way of approaching the game. There’s nobody here that makes me think this is something I have to get away from.”

Considering all the questions that will continue to follow the Yankees’ rotation around this offseason, it might not be a bad idea to at least strongly consider bringing  the 31-year-old right-hander back.

The Yankees are not expected to get Ivan Nova back following Tommy John surgery until the end of April at the earliest. CC Sabathia’s balky right knee, which sidelined him for the season as well, will remain a concern. Michael Pineda has missed significant time due to shoulder and back problems and is hard to rely on. Masahiro Tanaka has so far dodged a bullet as far as his injured elbow goes, but there’s no guarantee he won’t require surgery himself between now and spring training.

On top of all that, the one starter who has somehow avoided injury, Hiroki Kuroda, is expected to retire after the season.

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So, needless to say, there should be an opening for McCarthy in 2015.

“It’s a great group of guys, it’s a coaching staff that’s approachable,” McCarthy told Newsday. “The organization has made that transition pretty smooth.”

Part of the reason for McCarthy’s turnaround has been the Yankees’ willingness to let him trust his stuff. While with the Arizona Diamondbacks he was asked to throw more sinkers in the hope of becoming a groundball pitcher, but Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild has implored McCarthy to stick with his cut fastball.

The results speak for themselves. McCarthy has struck out 36 and walked just six in 36 2/3 innings with the Yankees.

He said he’s in favor of the high-pressure environment that comes with the territory that is the Bronx.

“It’s a place that wants to continually try and win and do everything it can to win,” McCarthy said. “I haven’t yet found a downside. I try and look at things rationally and logically and pick things apart and find good and bad. When you’re not able to find a negative so far in a month, it’s a good sign, I think.”

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