Freddy Garcia's Finger Injury Is Not a New York Yankees Conspiracy

Harold FriendChief Writer IAugust 14, 2011

Freddy Garcia
Freddy GarciaChris Trotman/Getty Images

The lucky get luckier. One good cut prevents another for New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman.

For the last few days, the media have been thirsting for the Yankees, who are using a six-man rotation, to drop A. J. Burnett from his starting role.

Brian Cashman signed Burnett to an $82.5 million contract. This season, the hard-throwing, erratic right-hander is 8-9 with a 4.60 ERA and a 91 ERA+. His ERA+ defuses any attempts to build up his effectiveness or to blame his below .500 record on a lack of run support.

Phil Hughes has returned to pitch effectively, which created the need to drop one starter. Dropping Hughes would be counter productive. The logical choice is to drop Burnett, but his contract is a tremendous factor.

Now the problem has been solved.

The Yankees, who always have been forthright about injuries and whose front office is more innocent than Billy Budd, announced that Freddy Garcia suffered a cut finger on his pitching hand that prevents him from throwing his split-fingered fastball.

One good cut deserved another.

The Yankees revealed that Garcia suffered the injury in "a kitchen accident" four or five days ago. Manager Joe Girardi said to the media.

"Sometimes decisions have a way of working their way out," the manager said, adding that he is "not sure" when Garcia will return.

Girardi hopes Garcia misses just one start.

"But obviously we've got to make sure it's healed before we have him even try. And he's going to have to throw a bullpen before he even tries to pitch in a game."

The timing of Garcia's injury couldn't have come at a better time for Girardi and Cashman. The decision has been made for them.

What luck that Freddy Garcia is no longer in the rotation, which means that Burnett retains his starting role.

"Conspiracy theorists" might question the entire sequence of events.


Some might have the temerity to hypothesize that there is more to Garcia's injury than meets the eye. How cynical can one get?

Earlier this season, some individuals wondered if the calf injury Derek Jeter suffered as he approached the 3,000 career hit mark was over blown so that he could get the hit at home. No  one is more forthright than Derek Jeter.

Such accusations must be censored. Freedom of speech has its limits.

The Yankees' position is that Burnett hasn't disappointed them. In an emotional tirade, Cashman staunchly defended him.

"We got (sic) six guys that are capable of pitching in a rotation in a playoff race and that's a good thing, so somebody has to go and we're going to make that decision, but this stuff about (how) A.J. Burnett is worthy of being ripped from the rotation is a bunch of crap."

Brian Cashman knows. After all, his is the Yankees general manager.