Shane Greene shines while Yankees' aces in a hole

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

The Yankees have some big-named starting pitchers.

And their starters, collectively, have a 4.48 ERA and opponents are hitting a robust .286 against them.

CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda — they're all supposed to be aces, but they haven't been sensational early this season. That said, Sabathia was pretty darned good in Monday night's 2-1 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Still, they could probably use a guy like, oh, Shane Greene, who's off to a terrific start with the Tigers, at 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA.

"He's pitched very well," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before Monday's series opener. "We saw him do that for us last year, as well. It's a young man with a very good arm, with good movement with his fastball, good slider, and a good change-up that I thought developed as (last) year went no. I'm not really surprised."

The Tigers acquired Greene, 26, in a three-team December trade that sent Robbie Ray from Detroit to Arizona and shortstop Didi Gregorius from Arizona to New York.

The Yankees liked Greene, a right-hander, but were desperate to find a shortstop. They had nobody to take over for legend Derek Jeter, who retired at the end of 2014.

"Anytime you let a young starting pitcher go, I think it's difficult," Girardi said. "But to get an everyday shortstop, those just don't fall out of trees. To get something, you have to give up something."

Greene was listed as one of the seven candidates for AL player of the week, an honor won by Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz. Greene gave up his first earned run of the season Sunday, on a border-line call by the Tigers' official scorer.