Joba heading back to the pen, for now

Team USA takes home the Bronze
Montero goes deep, like way deep

Well, this is sure to reignite a debate that ended a few months ago. When Joba Chamberlain is activated from the DL — and that day should be soon — the Yankees plan to bring him back as a reliever first.

Basically, the Yankees are pursuing this path in order to rehab Joba at the Major League level. By the time he’s ready to return to the mound, the Minor League season will be just about over, and the Yanks need to bring his arm up to strength, pitch count-wise, progressively. However, I’m not sure how comfortable I am with this idea.

Now, I know that the Yanks first put Joba into the pen this year and last as a way to limit his innings. As the team is being very conservative with their young phenom’s arm, it makes sense to keep his innings and pitch totals under wraps. But a nagging part of me wonders if moving him to the pen puts too much stress on his arm.

Joba’s an emotional pitcher, and if he’s throwing adrenaline-packed 8th innings, he may very well be putting more stress on himself physically than he would have as a starter. Plus, he spent his entire career, up until last August, as a starter.

Of course, this is just idle and unfounded speculation on my part, and I don’t believe the Yanks would follow a path that risks the long-term health of Joba Chamberlain. I can’t wait for him to return, and I hope his shoulder is back up to 100 percent. The Yanks could use the boost as they face a steep uphill climb to October.

Team USA takes home the Bronze
Montero goes deep, like way deep
  • A.D.

    Gotta disagree with the worry on the stress on the arm with this one, why he is an emotional pitcher and will rear back and throw the heat, he’ll also do that as a starter, only he’s throwing a lot more pitches.

    Chances are the Yankees will have him throwing 2 innings at a time, and he does need the innings to set up for next year, I like the move

  • Phil McCracken

    I agree with your point that by putting Joba back in the pen he may get pumped up for his shorter outings and possibly do damage to his arm.

    Rick Peterson talked about the treatment of Chamberlain on WFAN with Francessa. He felt the transition from bullpen to starter during the season is a mistake since you need to build up arm strength.

    It was only a topic for a little bit, but you can listen to the interview on their website if anyone missed it.

  • Slugger27

    While I am the biggest supporter of the “joba should be a starter long-term” campaign… i see no harm in this move. The bottom line is they need him pitching for their team in any way. If the yanks were 7 games up in the division it would be different.
    This is a desperate time. They cant afford him to slowly rehab in inning simulations on the side while the team fights for every game down the stretch. Since the minor league season is coming to an end, what choice do they have? At the end of the day, Joba for the yankees out of the pen is better than no joba for the yankees at all. In a desperate situation where every game, inning, and even pitch counts for something, getting back joba in any way shape or form is good for the team

  • X

    This isn’t set in stone though, right? Ed Price was sort of just speculating. Couldn’t the Yankees do what they did when they transitioned Joba into a starter (except quicker)? With Giese on the comeback trail and it seems like he could be back when Joba returns, couldn’t the Yankees try Joba for a 2 inning start then piggyback him with Giese (and then build him up from there)?

  • Jamal G.
  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    There is something fundamentally wrong with the Yankee operation from top to bottom right now and this is just another example of it. A strong GM with absolute power over the organization (and a big time reputation) needs to be brought in to fix this mess and it may take a couple of years. I think Buck could be one possibility but the senior baseball folks (not including Cashman) need to make a move now.

    I lived through the Yankees of the 80’s and this decade has a very similar feel.

    • Jamal G.

      There’s something “fundamentally wrong” with an organization that has made the playoffs ten straight seasons (starting with Brian Cashman’s tenure as GM in 1998 since that’s who I assume you have an issue with)? There’s something “fundamentally wrong” with an organization that even with it’s present success, still was able to build up a top rated farm system in all of baseball? There’s something “fundamentally wrong” with an organization which every year leads baseball in attendance and revenue intake?

      • X

        The only problem I have with that, is that I feel like the Yankee farm system, while highly regarded, is too pitching-heavy. Granted, you can never have too much pitching and that’s what wins games, but we basically have no position prospects outside of A-Jax, Gardner, and a few others. I would kill a man (preferably a Red Sox fan) for a Ryan Braun type of prospect in our farm system.

        • Chris

          Free agent contracts on hitters don’t blow up nearly as much as those for pitchers. You can easily fill out a lineup with free agent hitters and still be good, but you can’t do the same with pitchers. I think this is why there has been so much more focus on pitching.

        • RobertGKramer

          We have some that may be Braun type (I don’t know him very well as a Brewer) but they’re below AA.

        • Ken

          ~~The only problem I have with that, is that I feel like the Yankee farm system, while highly regarded, is too pitching-heavy. Granted, you can never have too much pitching and that’s what wins games, but we basically have no position prospects …. ~~

          Yes but you can trade pitching prospects for established position players, as was done with Nady. It’s almost impossible to do the reverse.

      • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

        What we are talking about at this time is the present state of the Yankees. The Yankee farm system is devoid of major league ready position players, take alook at where the Yanks looked for solutions when problems arose at the catching position, when they needed an extra first basemen, when they needed a third basemen when AROD was hurt. The two outfield prospects brought up this year were hardly impressive. Gardner doesn’t hit the ball with much authority and looks like a spare part at best, Justin Christian is 28 years old! As far as pitching prospects, we’ll see. Joba and Robertson look good but Hughes is off to a so so start at best and Kennedy … .

        This is a question of organization vision, if George were still George Brian would be gone plain and simple. I don’t think Hal and Hank have the same baseball fire that George had and in lieu of that the organization needs a dynamic leader, the best baseball man available. Brian is not that guy in my opinion, his contract is up, it’s time to move on.

  • Baseballnation

    What’s the point in this when the team is getting killed in early innings throwing out the likes of Rasner and the “great” Ponsonian. When is our last six games versus Boston, because if JOBA Don’t pitch atleast two of those games then the season is really over.

  • Baseballnation

    We have a Braun type of player…His name is Montero. He’s a bit off then Braun was but I would expect mr. Montero to end next year in AA. But I do share your sentimrent. The yankees are pitcher heavy and the sad part is few of those pitchers have any exceptional upside. Lets be honest! I wish the Yankees would change they’re philosophy…Even if it’s just one year and target elite bats in the early rounds.

    They have this mindset of “we can find bats in the later rounds.” Really? This mindset might work for signability concern pitchers, but not bats.

    • X

      I’d like to see them go after some position players, as well (elite guys). You are right though about Jesus Montero. He is our own Ryan Braun and his power is going to be tremendous.

  • Chris

    Why is stretching out his arm such a big deal? He threw 93 pitches on Aug 4, when he got the tendinitis. He’s been on a throwing program for a week now. Couldn’t he go 50-60 pitches now?

  • TurnTwo

    told you i wouldnt be surprised!!!

  • swo

    Giese will shadow his starts in the meantime, until he gets to 100%. I’m not worried at all.

  • bill

    This is bullshit. Theyre overacting to a strain caused by the Texas heat – not overuse. I hope this nonsense is short lived – if the Yanks have any October hopes Joba Chamberlain has to be in the rotation, not the bullpen.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos

    Joba back in the pen… this is the dumbest idea i’ve heard of since something that George Bush thought of last week.

    Stop fucking with Joba and his arm like he’s Elastic Man. He’s a starter, he should start. He should get stretched out in the minors where he can behave and approach each pitch like a starter. Just because we didn’t get burned earlier this year on an extremely risky plan doesn’t make it a sound plan that we should be repeating.

  • Steve

    I think everybody is overreacting. I saw nothing that said he would go back to his 8th inning setup role. When Girardi says “Were going to get creative” thats the same thing he said when they decided to stretch him out on the MLB level earlier in the year. I suspect he means the same thing this time.

    They won’t start him at first, get 3 innings here and then 4 innings, and then set a date to start him. You get some innings out of one of your best arms and stretch him out at the same time. No biggie, and we’ve seen this before.