Rasner grabs win, Joba grabs headlines

Appeal Staff Report

Darrell Rasner has more than met the New York Yankees expectations so far, something that manager Joe Girardi acknowledged before Wednesday's game.

"The only thing he can really do better is throw a shutout every time," Girardi said before Wednesday's game to MLB.com. "And we know that's not going to happen."

Well at least on Wednesday the 1999 Carson High graduate proved Girardi to be wrong. In arguably his best start of his career, Rasner set career-highs in innings pitched and strikeouts. He struck out six and allowed five hits in throwing seven shutout innings to pick up the win in an 8-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Rasner improved to 3-0 in his third straight outstanding start.

"He's been great," Girardi said. "He's just been outstanding. He's really taken advantage of his situation."

But fittingly for Rasner, who has always benn one to stay in the background, his effort was overshadowed by the Yankees announcing that setup man Joba Chamberlain would eventually be moved to the starting rotation.

And not surprisingly Rasner had no problem with that. "My whole concern," Rasner told MLB.com, "was throwing strikes."

Rasner only needed to throw 97 pitchers through seven innings as he was working on 11 days rest. Rasner said he could have kept going, but wasn't upset that the chance to pitch a complete game shutout was taken away from him. The Yankees decided to pitch Chamberlain the final two innings " the first step toward moving hiim into the rotation.

"I felt good, but Joba needed to get some innings," Rasner said. "It's the manager's decision, and it's been a while since I've thrown. Maybe that was part of it, too."

Alex Rodriguez homered for the Yankees and should have been credited with another, but the umpires incorrectly ruled that another one of his shots wasn't a homer and he was awarded a double.

But Rodriguez said Rasner was the standout. "The star of the game tonight was Rasner," he said. "He threw the ball beautiful."

Rasner has been through this before. Last year, Rasner threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Seattle Mariners, but was overshadowed when Roger Clemens made his dramatic announcement during the game at Yankee Stadium that he would be returning to the Yankees.

On Wednesday, Rasner had a sharp fastball and cutter to make up for a less than sharp curveball. So when Rasner made mistakes, Rodriguez said, "he made them with conviction."

And Rasner is now the Yankees' most consistent starter. "It's a great opportunity for me," Rasner said. "With this team, you get an opportunity to win a lot of games. With the offense putting up runs and everything, there's always that opportunity. It's a great situation."

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