Having seen his pitching staff throttled to the tune of a humiliating 17-1 loss to Boston Friday night, Brian Cashman has responded in the most logical of ways ; the Yankees have picked up Al Leiter and will insert him into the starting rotation Saturday or Sunday.

On the bright side for the Bombers, Melky Cabrera should be finding the ball Trot Nixon hit for an inside-the-park HR any minute now.

That Tom Glavine was outduelled by John Smoltz (above) last night at Shea is neither surprising nor shameful. The Mets’ decision, however, to relegate Kaz Ishii to the bullpen is such an uncommon if not overdue display of common sense, I’m tempted to think this is a Saturday AM prank by Newsday’s David Lennon.

Now that the Mets have a built-in excuse to skip Kaz Ishii’s turn in the rotation, the bigger question becomes: When will he make his next start?

That has yet to be determined. With Monday’s day off, the Mets will go back to Kris Benson for Tuesday, which means the earliest Ishii could start is Friday against the Dodgers – and only if the Mets choose to give Pedro Martinez an extra day of rest.

In the meantime, Ishii will be available out of the bullpen, and there is no guarantee he’ll get his spot back when the Mets need a fifth starter. Aaron Heilman or Jae Seo could be considered as replacements for Ishii, whose job is obviously in jeopardy.

“Right now, he’s not in the immediate rotation,” manager Willie Randolph said.

The Dodgers banished Ishii to the bullpen last season, but he never pitched in relief for them. The last time he did so was in 1993, his second season with the Yakult Swallows, and that could make for a rough transition.

Randolph said it’s possible that Ishii (2-8, 5.57 ERA) could fit in a long-relief role, but “there are guys down there we would use before him.” That sounds like mop-up duty or nothing for the next week, barring injury.

When asked about it, Ishii said through his interpreter: “Baseball is not an individual sport. It’s a team sport. This might be a little different to make adjustments, but life goes on.”