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Mechanics key to Mitre's effectiveness

Mechanics key to Mitre's effectiveness

TORONTO -- For a big league starter, the four days between outings can seem so much longer after a bad one. And such was the case for Sergio Mitre this week after his forgettable three innings on Friday in Chicago.

Rather than sulk, though, Mitre worked. Specifically, he attempted to tweak his mechanics, concentrating on keeping his right arm and his body synchronized. In that manner, Mitre hoped, he could prevent his trademark sinker from flattening out and runs from piling up.

"When the ball doesn't do what it's supposed to do, I know I'm not doing what I need to do," Mitre said. "That's the best way to tell. The ball won't lie."

Partially because of that outing -- one in which he allowed five runs on seven hits -- the Yankees pushed Mitre's start up a day so he could pitch in Wednesday's series finale in Toronto, rather than Thursday's opener against the Red Sox.

Mitre has struggled, and the Yankees are cautious. And though it's unlikely that Mitre is in jeopardy of losing his rotation spot since the Yankees have few alternatives, another bad outing could force their hand.

"Sergio? I expect him to pitch well," manager Joe Girardi said. "The thing for Sergio is that he gets his other pitches going."

That, also, should be easier with proper mechanics -- the type that Mitre now insists he has found. Friday's troubles should not repeat themselves, Mitre said, because his problem was one he felt able to fix.

"There's really nothing major there," Mitre said. "My stuff is there. It's just a matter of putting it together and being consistent."

What moving Mitre up in the rotation also accomplished was allowing the Yankees to line up their three most successful pitchers -- Joba Chamberlain, A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia -- for the upcoming four-game set against the Red Sox. And it allowed Mitre to face the Blue Jays, a team he dominated in his only start against them, back in 2005 at Wrigley Field as a member of the Cubs.

In that game, Mitre struck out six batters, firing seven scoreless innings. And for Mitre, the four days that ensued were much more comfortable than these past four have been.

"It's always long after a start like that," Mitre said. "I'm not happy at all. I know I can do a lot better."

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Sergio Mitre (1-0, 7.90 ERA)
Friday's start must have left general manager Brian Cashman wondering if the waiver wire could provide a better starting option. Still, with only Kei Igawa in line at Triple-A, the Yankees will continue to take their chances with Mitre, who has permitted 24 hits in 13 2/3 innings over his three starts with New York. Catcher Jorge Posada said that Mitre's stuff is crisp when he's down in the zone, but the problem has been that his pitches are consistently up. Mitre self-evaluated his first start with the Yankees as "OK" but his last two as "horrible."

TOR: LHP Marc Rzepczynski (1-2, 3.25 ERA)
Thanks to a handful of off-days, Rzepczynski has not started since July 28. In that outing, which came at Seattle, the left-handed rookie allowed three runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings, striking out eight and walking two in a no-decision. Over his past two starts, Rzepczynski has allowed seven runs (five earned) on eight hits over 9 2/3 innings, using 187 pitches.

Reliever Damaso Marte, on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation, struck out two, walked one, allowed one hit and didn't allow a run in two-thirds of an inning on Tuesday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Marte has a 4.00 ERA in nine rehab appearances. ... Outfielder Eric Hinske will celebrate his 32nd birthday on Wednesday. ... Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is 1-for-1 with a home run and three walks in three career plate appearances against Mitre.

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Up next
• Thursday: Yankees (Joba Chamberlain, 7-2, 3.58) vs. Red Sox (John Smoltz, 2-4, 7.12), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Yankees (A.J. Burnett, 10-5, 3.89) vs. Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 13-4, 3.27), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Yankees (CC Sabathia, 11-7, 3.95) vs. Red Sox (Clay Buchholz, 1-1, 6.05), 4:10 p.m. ET

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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