NEW YORK -- The Yankees aren't ready to anoint Chris Stewart as a personal catcher for CC Sabathia, but the ace lefty is probably getting used to seeing him behind the plate.
Stewart was in the lineup for Sabathia again on Sunday, the third straight start they have worked together. Sabathia entered Sunday's start 2-0 with a 4.11 ERA with Stewart, while he had a 6.75 ERA in his first two starts of the year with Russell Martin.
"He's not his personal catcher," manager Joe Girardi said. "At some point, I'm going to give Russ a day off. If I can, you like to keep that backup guy with one or two guys. It has just kind of worked out this way."
Stewart came back to the Yankees with the reputation as a strong defensive catcher with a skill for framing pitches, displacing Francisco Cervelli to Triple-A before the season opener. Stewart has also provided a bonus of unexpected punch, stroking three hits in 10 at-bats, including three RBIs on April 17 against the Twins.
Yanks move Garcia to 'pen, Phelps to rotation
NEW YORK -- Freddy Garcia has been dispatched to the Yankees' bullpen, and rookie David Phelps will have an opportunity to pitch out of the club's rotation.
Garcia was battered by the Tigers for six runs in 1 2/3 innings on Saturday in a 7-5 Yankees loss, the second straight start Garcia only recorded five outs, and the change did not come as a shock to the hurler.
"When you're pitching [poorly] out of the rotation, what do you expect?" Garcia said. "When you don't do your job, what are they supposed to do? That's what happened. They're honest. I didn't pitch the way I was supposed to pitch. It's reality."
Garcia is 0-2 with a 12.51 ERA through four starts, allowing 25 hits and five walks in 13 2/3 innings. Garcia has pitched out of the bullpen just twice in 333 Major League games, though he did pitch an inning of relief last April in a game at Fenway Park.
"Sometimes you can go and try to find a way to fix things down in the bullpen," manager Joe Girardi said. "It happens for a lot of guys. So we'll put him down there as a long man, and we'll make sure he gets some work, and we'll try to get him back to where he wants to be."
The 35-year-old signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the Yankees this winter after going 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA last season, and had obviously expected to be a starter.
"I'll be OK, man. I know," Garcia said. "I've been playing this game for a long time, and a lot of things happened to me before, and I always came off on the top. It's not going to be different. So, we'll see what happens."
Phelps, 25, has been solid as a long reliever this season, making the club after Michael Pineda suffered a shoulder injury late in camp. Phelps owns a 3.57 ERA through 17 2/3 innings of relief work, walking two and striking out 14 around 12 hits.
"I've said all along about David Phelps, I envision him as a starter," Girardi said. "I have not seen anything that tells me eventually he can't be a starter at this level. Time will tell as we move forward."
Phelps figures to make his first Major League start on Thursday against the Royals in Kansas City, and said that he has taken a lot from a month in which he has already faced the fearsome likes of Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
"It's great. Any time you're in consideration for a starting role on this team, it's a big deal," Phelps said. "With the quality arms we have on this team, I don't take it lightly."
A-Rod passes Mays on RBI list with 1,904
NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez's fielder's choice in the seventh inning Sunday against the Tigers drove in Chris Stewart, marking Rodriguez's 1,904th career RBI.
That gave Rodriguez sole possession of ninth place on baseball's all-time list. Rodriguez tied Willie Mays earlier in the game with an RBI infield single. Next up on the list is Eddie Murray, who drove in 1,917 runs.
Earlier in the second Curtis Granderson worked a bases-loaded walk from the Tigers' Max Scherzer for his 500th career RBI.
Reliever Mitchell called up; Eppley optioned
NEW YORK -- The Yankees recalled right-hander D.J. Mitchell from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before Sunday's game, looking to add a live arm to help out in the back of their bullpen.
Right-hander Cody Eppley was optioned to Triple-A in a corresponding roster move. Eppley was one of three New York relievers that soaked up 7 1/3 innings in relief of a poor Freddy Garcia start on Saturday.
"He's another guy that can give you distance out of the bullpen," manager Joe Girardi said of Mitchell. "We thought we'd better have some more distance."
Along with Adam Warren, Mitchell was one of the finalists for the long relief job that went to David Phelps in Spring Training. Mitchell responded by going 2-1 with a 3.13 ERA in four starts at Triple-A, holding opponents to an 0.87 WHIP.
"I knew I was pretty close," Mitchell said. "I still knew I needed to pitch well and prove some things at the Triple-A level. I was fortunate enough to do that pretty early. It was only four starts, but I was lucky that they did call upon me when they needed someone. I'll just take it from there."
On Tuesday, CC Sabathia will be inducted into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America's National Hall of Fame during the organization's 106th conference in San Diego. Sabathia's wife, Amber, and his mother, Margie Sabathia-Lanier, will accept the honor on his behalf.
Nick Swisher homered from both sides of the plate in Saturday's 7-5 loss to the Tigers, the 11th time he has done so, tying Chili Davis and Eddie Murray for the second-most all time. Mark Teixeira (13) is the all-time leader.
On this date in 2006, the Yankees scored at least one run in every inning of a 17-6 win over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium, the second such time in franchise history they had done so. The other time came on July 26, 1939, in a 14-1 win over St. Louis. Johnny Damon scored a career-high five runs.