Acquired in the trade deadline deal that sent Jose Contreras to the Chicago White Sox, Loaiza is winless in his first two starts for New York, surrendering 10 runs and 16 hits over 12 innings. He was reached for five runs and 10 hits over six innings in Monday’s 5-4 loss to Toronto, striking out two and walking one.
“Everybody says the pressure, the pressure,” said Loaiza after yielding at least four runs for the ninth consecutive start.
“Wearing the Yankee uniform and the pinstripes I think is a little bit more heavy than just when you get traded from Pittsburgh to another team.”
With Mussina, sidelined by an injured right elbow, scheduled to come off the disabled list Tuesday, Loaiza figured to be the odd an out of New York’s rotation if he continued to pitch poorly. However, Torre indicated Friday that he would employ a six-man rotation for at least two turns, giving Loaiza a chance to work out his kinks as a starter rather than out of the bullpen.
Torre said there were no considerations to take Loaiza out of the rotation now.
“We traded for this guy because we felt he gave us more experience,” Torre said.
Jon Lieber, who may eventually battle Loaiza for the fifth and final rotation spot, turned in his second straight strong effort as New York took Friday’s series opener 11-3. Lieber went eight strong innings and Ruben Sierra hit a grand slam and drove in five runs as the Yankees increased their lead over second-place Boston to 10 1/2 games.
Miguel Olivo hit a two-run homer for the Mariners, who have dropped two straight.