Yanks' Hitchcock making most of return to rotation

August 08, 1994|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Contributing Writer

For much of the 1994 season, the New York Yankees considered left-hander Sterling Hitchcock a project. But recently this project has made everyone forget about the other left-hander, Terry Mulholland, the $3.35 million off-season bust.

Before this year, Hitchcock had a 1-4 record with a 5.73 ERA in nine starts. Hitchcock started this season in the bullpen and made two trips to Triple-A Columbus before he got back into the rotation.

Hitchcock got the chance to break back into the starting rotation when the Yankees needed to fill the void left by the inconsistent Mulholland. The veteran pitcher acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies has lost seven of 13 decisions and has given up 23 home runs in 119 1/3 innings.

While Mulholland has struggled, Hitchcock is showing signs of settling down in the major leagues. Hitchcock is 3-0 in his last three starts. He has averaged nearly seven innings with a 1.74 ERA.

Hitchcock will try to win his fourth straight start tonight when New York faces the Orioles at Yankee Stadium.

However in those three starts, Hitchcock has allowed 11.3 base runners per nine innings. But Hitchcock has proven he can adjust in close games.

On Wednesday, Hitchcock held Milwaukee to one run and five hits in seven innings as the Yankees won, 2-1. But Hitchcock said he "didn't have very good stuff."

That win at Milwaukee increased his road record to 3-0. At Yankee Stadium, Hitchcock is 1-1 with a 4.60 ERA.

As a member of the New York bullpen, Hitchcock recorded his only win against the Orioles. He retired Brady Anderson and Chris Sabo in the eighth inning on June 14 for the win.

Otherwise, the Yankees bullpen has been relatively ineffective against the Orioles. In 16 1/3 innings, New York relievers have lost two games and have allowed 10 runs and 16 hits.

Like Mulholland, the Orioles' Sid Fernandez has been a disappointing pitching acquisition. He returns to New York, where he won 98 games in nine seasons for the Mets.

Fernandez has struggled in the switch to the American League. His ERA (5.09) is higher than his career National League average of 3.15.

In 18 starts, Fernandez has six wins and has yielded a club-high 26 homers. He hasn't started since July 28 because of a sore left knee.

Fernandez began the season on the disabled list with a sore left shoulder. By midseason, he was back on the disabled list with a strained rib-cage muscle.

In his last three starts, Fernandez is 1-2 with a 5.68 ERA.

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