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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gooden's Return Cools


TAMPA, Florida -- Pitcher Dwight Gooden's comeback with the New York Yankees has cooled. The harsh reality he must now face is the crushing fallout from a second failure.

Former Met ace Gooden, 31, pushes that possibility to the back of his mind, but there are others who will begin to analyze his abilities a bit more closely during the coming weeks. One is manager Joe Torre, who two days ago questioned Gooden's grip on a starting spot in his rotation.

After Melido Perez pitched seven no-hit innings against Detroit, Torre revealed a Perez-for-Gooden swap is something he is considering.

"He's the manager and he makes the decisions," Gooden said. "I definitely respect those decisions. I just got to go out and do all I can to prepare myself for the season. I'm not going to change anything because of that."

Gooden has been tagged for five earned runs and nine hits in six innings. His fastball has topped out at 93 mph, but Gooden is struggling to locate his pitches.

Fernando Valenzuela, 35, seems to have pitched himself into the San Diego Padres' rotation as a fourth or fifth starter. After an extended bullpen stint last year, Valenzuela won six games in a row late in the season and has impressed again this spring.

Outfielder Kevin Mitchell, back from a year in Japan, has signed with the Boston Red Sox and is expected to report to their minor league camp this week.