Yankees move struggling Nathan Eovaldi to bullpen

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Monday, July 4, 2016

CHICAGO -- New York Yankees pitcher Nathan Eovaldi is working out of the bullpen -- for now.

With Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller off limits on Monday, manager Joe Girardi said Eovaldi was available in relief, but the hard-throwing right-hander watched as New York lost 8-2 to the Chicago White Sox in the opener of a three-game series. Fresh off his first major league win, rookie Chad Green will start Friday night at Cleveland.

Betances and Miller had pitched on three of the previous four days, and Eovaldi dropped his fourth consecutive start when he lasted just 4 1/3 innings in Friday's 7-6 loss to the Padres.

"I think it was somewhat logical with our needs right now," Girardi said before the loss to the White Sox. "He'll get straightened out, that I'm not worried about. Nathan's got good stuff and I think he can really help us if we needed today."

New York got Eovaldi in a December 2014 trade with Miami, and he went 14-3 with a 4.20 ERA in his first season with the Yankees. But this year has been a roller coaster.

He went 6-0 with a 2.72 ERA during a seven-start stretch running from the end of April through May. But he hasn't won since that surge, going 0-4 with a 9.20 ERA in his last six outings.

Speaking before he was told he will not be starting Friday, Eovaldi said he would be disappointed if he had to work as a reliever long term.

"Yeah, I started as a starter and I want to finish as a starter," he said. "I see myself as a starter, so I'm not seeing it as that right now. I'm just here to help the team and we're short on guys and I'm ready."

Girardi also said he envisions Eovaldi as a starter and said he has no plans to go with six starters after the All-Star break, raising questions about what New York might do with its rotation.

Green struck out eight while pitching six innings of one-run ball in Sunday's 6-3 win at San Diego. Luis Severino also is pushing for a return after he was demoted to the minors on May 30, going 4-0 with a 3.16 ERA in his first six starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre.

Green "threw really well yesterday and Nathan has struggled for this month," Girardi said. "We're trying to get him straightened out."

A day after he homered twice to get to 401 for his career, Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira got the day off to protect his right knee from the short turnaround between games. The switch-hitting first baseman came off the disabled list on June 25 after being sidelined with torn cartilage in his right knee.

Carlos Beltran went 1 for 5 as the designated hitter and could test his right hamstring in the outfield on Tuesday.

"I thought he looked fine today," Girardi said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow and we'll see if the outfield is an option."