Carson’s Rasner settles into new role with Yanks
OAKLAND, Calif. – With the game, his season and maybe his career on the line – OK maybe that’s somewhat hyberbolic – what was Darrell Rasner thinking about in the first inning of Saturday night’s game against the Oakland Athletics?
In typical Rasner fashion he was thinking about just his next pitch the whole time. The 1999 Carson High graduate made his second start of the year for the New York Yankees against the A’s at McAfee Coliseum and after a rocky start came through with a solid effort.
Rasner allowed three unearned runs in the first inning, but went on to shut down the A’s during the rest of his start and ended up allowing no earned runs over 5.1 innings. The Yankees eventually won 4-3 in extra innings.
It was a nice comeback for Rasner from his first start against the Baltimore Orioles in which he took the loss in a 6-4 defeat after allowing five runs in 4.1 innings. Rasner lowered his earned run average from 10.38 to 4.66.
And it looks like Rasner will receive at least one more start for the Yankees. Mike Mussina (hamstring) and Carl Pavano (sore arm) were both placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday.
Pavano was originally supposed to start on Saturday, but was pushed back to Tuesday and Rasner took his place. But then Pavano was placed on the disabled list.
The Yankees plan to call up Chase Wright to start Tuesday’s game against the Cleveland Indians. The logical scenario would have Rasner to start against the Indians on Thursday in a 10:05 a.m. game.
As Pavano was breaking the bad news to the media on Sunday, Rasner walked into the locker room not knowing about the latest development.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Rasner before Sunday’s game in which the A’s stunned the Yankees 5-4 on Marco Scutaro’s walk-off three-run home run off the left field foul pole on an 0-2 pitch from Mariano Rivera. “I’ve stopped trying to predict things in this game. It will drive you crazy. I’m just going to go out every day and work and go from there.”
That’s what Rasner was able to do on Saturday when Derek Jeter’s error led to three unearned runs in the first.
“It went well,” said Rasner about the start. “It started a little rough but it turned out OK.”
While Rasner was granting the interview, at first he and the reporter were sitting down. But then Rasner remembered this is the Yankees and the Yankees are about professionalism and he informed the reporter that they better do the interview standing up or he’ll hear about it.
“You can’t worry about the things you can’t control,” said Rasner about the rough start. “I really made an effort to focus on the next pitch and let the past be the past.”
Rasner was also pleased to show what he was capable of after a rough outing against the Orioles.
“I was happy to get back out there,” Rasner said. “I was itching to pitch, to show I could be a little bit better.
“I wanted to get back out there and into a game and throw some good low pitches. I was happy with the way it turned out.”
Rasner said the error on Jeter was partially his fault, saying it’s tough to play behind a pitcher who’s falling behind in the count.
“That was a tough play,” Rasner said. “It came up on him. I’ll take responsibility for it. It’s kind of tough to play defense that way (when the pitcher’s falling behind in the count).”
For the rest of the game, Rasner got ahead of the hitters. “First pitch strike and just being aggressive and really focus on my next pitch, just getting the balls down in the zone,” said Rasner about how he had success on Saturday.
That’s something Rasner wasn’t able to do against the Orioles and he paid for it, allowing two home runs. Rasner could have blamed the outing on a blister that prevented him from controlling his offspeed pitches.
“It affected me somewhat,” Rasner said. “I wasn’t able to (control) my breaking pitches.
“I’m not going to use it as an excuse. I wasn’t getting the ball down and they made me pay.”
The right-handed pitcher had sustained blisters in the past when his hand would become moist in hot and muggy weather. This was the first time he suffered a blister in cold weather. Besides, Rasner said, he’s pitched in much colder weather with Carson and the University of Nevada.
There’s no more blister and Rasner called it a nonissue. He’s been having his hand treated to toughen it up.
“I don’t know exactly what it is but it’s toughening up,” said Rasner about what the trainers have given him to treat his hand. “I really try to keep my hand as dry as possible.”
Rasner also received his share of help defensively with the biggest play coming when left fielder Melky Cabrera threw out a runner at home to end the first.
“That was a big play and got me out of the inning,” Rasner said. “The guys played great behind me and helped me out.”
He also credited his catcher, Will Nieves. “My catcher Will Nieves called a great game,” Rasner said.
Despite throwing only 78 pitches, Rasner was pulled in the sixth. He said he was ready to keep pitching.
“I felt great,” Rasner said. “It’s not my call. The people who are making decisions are a lot smarter than me. I’m going to go as hard as I can as long as I can until they take the ball.”
And as long as Rasner is a Yankee, he’ll take the same attitude about his future no matter what it holds.
“That’s how you’ve got to be,” Rasner said. “You’ve got to go out and enjoy every day, not take it for granted and just have fun doing it.”