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Warren a Risky Choice for Yankees Rotation

The No. 5 spot in the Yankees rotation has been up for grabs ever since Chris Capuano went down with a quad injury at the begining of spring training.

Among the candidates competing are Adam Warren, Esmil Rogers, Scott Baker Bryan Mitchell and Chase Whitley. According to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, there is currently a horse leading the way.

“I think there’s a predictable favorite,” Cashman said. “There’s a Secretariat right now in this race for me that’s got a number of lengths ahead of the field.”

After a little more beating around the bush, Cashman finally said that it is Warren who has impressed the most. The 27-year-old has pitched 13 innings this spring, more than any other pitcher on the Yankees roster, and has looked rather sharp on the hill in four starts. He is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in those games and has allowed four runs and 13 hits. Warren has just six strikeouts, but has showed pinpoint control by not yet allowing a walk.

Of course, New York still has some time to decide for sure.

“Warren has certainly got a big lead in this, but we don’t have to make that decision today,” Cashman said. “When you’re running the race, someone is certainly ahead of the field. Things can change radically all the time. We have to stay healthy, but if we had to make a call today, it would obviously have to be Warren via the competition.”

Which begs the question; is Warren the right choice for the rotation?

It’s hard to argue against the stats. The righty has been sharp this spring to say the least and Cashman is certainly within reason to think Warren is the right man for the job without so much as second guessing himself. However, when debating Warren being the No. 5 starter, one has to think a little bit past the immediate future.

Capuano is going to miss about a month of the season. If he is out longer, the rotation spot will then go to Ivan Nova when he returns from Tommy John surgery. He is expected back in May.

The point is, whoever is named the fifth starter out of spring training is not keeping the job forever. Further more, given the Yankees schedule, there will only be a need for a No. 5 guy three times in the team’s first month of the season.

All of this is why putting Warren in the role is a risky move. He may be excelling as a starter right now, but eventually Warren is going to be asked to go back to the bullpen, where he played such a key role in 2014. It could be detrimental for him to begin the year as a starter, only to make three starts and then adjust to life as a reliever again.

Yes, Warren’s showing this March absolutely should give him the edge when it comes to who ends up in the rotation; that is not what is in question.

The real concern is how he will adjust when he is told to leave.

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