With the fourth and fifth spots open in the Yankees' starting pitching rotation, it remains to be seen who will fill the voids, but there are five new pitchers in pinstripes hoping to make an impact in some capacity in 2011.
Much has been said about Bartolo Colon's weight gain — understandably so, as he arrived to spring training at 267 pounds — but, more importantly, the former Cy Young Award winner hasn't pitched in the majors since 2009, when he posted a 4.19 ERA over 62 1/3 innings pitched.
Battling against Colon for one of those two available starter spots is two-time All-Star Freddy Garcia. The veteran pitcher started 28 games for the White Sox last season, posting a 4.64 ERA and a 12-6 record.
The Yankees made offseason moves to upgrade their bullpen, even as their starting pitching was questionable. When they acquired Pedro Feliciano from the Mets across town, the Yankees gained a lefty reliever who is capable of a heavy workload. Feliciano appeared in 92 games last season, posting a 3.30 ERA, and he's led all major leaguers in appearances in each of the past three seasons.
Another pitcher who has the potential to bridge the gap between the starters and Mariano Rivera is Mark Prior. While a series of arm injuries have kept him from pitching in the majors since 2006, Prior is looking to make a comeback in his career that started with so much promise — over a season-and-a-half with the Chicago Cubs in 2002-03, he had a 24-12 record with a 2.74 ERA.
The Yankees put stock in Rafael Soriano when they agreed to a $35 million contract and gave up their first-round draft pick to the Tampa Bay Rays. As a closer for the Rays in 2010, Soriano had an impressive 1.73 ERA over 64 appearances. Not intended as the closer for the Yankees, Soriano will serve as another bridge man to get to Rivera.
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