York manager Andy Etchebarren called this stretch of the season a test. He had just returned to the team after needing time off to treat back pain caused by two bulging discs and arthritis. He returned to a team suffering because defections have depleted his pitching staff. The team has survived this week by playing with three starting pitchers (Celson Polanco, Jarod Plummer and Corey Thurman). All three have pitched on three-day’s rest, and reliever Ryan Basner agreed to make his first start since 2008.
The Revs signed former big leaguer Matt DeSalvo, 29, Saturday, according to Revs director of player procurement Michael Kirk. He is expected to start Sunday against Lancaster.
So how difficult has this stretch been? Etchebarren revealed the coaching staff thought they had enough pitchers to win a nine-inning game Friday. Had the game gone into extra innings, though, Etchebarren would have called on closer R.J. Rodriguez to keep pitching or turned to Thurman.
It’s been a tricky week to figure out what pitchers are available.
LHP Matt Riley (family reasons), LHP Damian Moss (family reasons), LHP Jesus Sanchez (contract to play in Taiwan), LHP A.J. Murray (family reasons) and RHP Plummer (birth of a child), have either left the team or — in the case of Plummer — will leave the team after Saturday’s game.
DeSalvo last pitched in the big leagues with the Braves in 2008. He made his major league debut with the Yankees in 2007, starting seven games and going 1-3.
He started one game for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs last season before earning a minor league contract with the Florida Marlins. He pitched in Triple-A for the Rays’ and Marlins’ organizations last season, and he has posted a 37-43 career record in the minors with a 4.00 ERA.
DeSalvo is a native of New Castle, Pennsylvania, and Revs pitching coach Mark Mason is familiar with him after seeing him pitch in college.
Not just a stop gap, DeSalvo could be a starter the Revs turn to in the playoffs if he is able to succeed during the final six weeks of the Atlantic League season. He has pitched in Triple-A or higher every year since 2006.
DeSalvo (0-2, 16.38 ERA) struggled with the Marlins Triple-A team early this season, resulting in his release in May. Since then he has pitched for the Canton Stallions in the American Amateur Baseball Congress East Central Regional.