Before today’s game, the Yankees announced that Javier Vazquez’ next start in Fenway park will be skipped. The decision does not come as much of a surprise, and the logic behind it is very sound. Whether you believe Vazquez’ problems are mental or mechanical, it stands to reason that he could benefit from a rest. Presumably, Vazquez will use the next seven days to work closely with pitching coach Dave Eiland and then rejoin the rotation on May 11 in Detroit.
From the Yankees standpoint, they avoid opening up a series against Boston with the struggling Vazquez, which not only improves the team’s chances of winning, but also could help avoid having to overextend the bullpen at the start of what usually is a grueling series. While there is some risk that the temporary demotion could be a further blow to Vazquez’ already fragile psyche, I think another poor outing amid the intensity of the rivalry would do much more damage.
The season is still young, so by no means should the Yankees consider pulling the plug on Vazquez. As long as the time off is used productively, this temporary setback could wind up being a turning point in his season. In the meantime, the Yankees and Vazquez need to figure out what is at the heart of his problems and attack them with the same aggressiveness that Javy needs to be using against American League batters.