Darrell Rasner is likely pitching for a spot in the New York Yankees starting rotation - and theoretically even a chance to start on opening day - when he goes to the mound in today's spring training game.
The 1999 Carson High graduate will start against the Houston Astros in today's game at 4:15 p.m. With a solid outing, Rasner will likely cement his spot as the team's No. 5 starter to begin the season.
It's believed that Carl Pavano won the right to be the Yankees' opening day starter with a solid effort on Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins. Pavano allowed two runs in six innings in the Yankees' 4-3 loss.
But Yankees manager Joe Torre said he wanted to see one more start from Kei Igawa - and Rasner - before announcing who would start on opening day on Monday at Yankee Stadium against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Rasner is not thought to be a candidate to start on opening day.
Two injuries have given Rasner a chance to crack the Yankees' rotation. Chien-Ming Wang has a hamstring injury and is expected to miss the first three weeks of the regular season.
Jeff Karstens, who was thought to be the leading candidate to be the No. 5 starter after Wang was hurt, has tendinitis in his right elbow. The injury is considered not to be serious, but the Yankees also aren't saying if they'll place Karstens on the 15-day disabled list.
The Yankees are also talking like Rasner is now the leading candidate to be the No. 5 starter. In an interview during ESPN's telecast of Tuesday's game, Yankees pitching coach Ron Guidry said Rasner could be the No. 5 starter and fill innings.
Since the Yankees will only need a No. 5 starter once in their first 17 games, Rasner could fill the role of spot starter and long reliever. Rasner has had an impressive spring, allowing two earned runs in 12 innings for a 1.50 earned run average.