The Yankees have two pitcher spots left to fill for the Arizona Fall League. There’s been some speculation that one of those spots could go to Joba Chamberlain, who could use a few more innings this year after missing a month with shoulder tendinitis. Today, Joel Sherman reports that the Yankees are “strongly weighing” the possibility of not only sending Joba to the AzFL, but also Ian Kennedy, who missed time in May with a back injury.
The Yanks would very much like all three of their young pitchers to get additional work to refine their repertoires and also to build innings so that they could be in position next year to take on expanded roles. But, especially in the case of Chamberlain, the Yanks are worried about putting too much on a pitcher who this year began spring as a starter, switched to the pen, moved to the rotation, went on the DL with shoulder tendinitis and returned to the bullpen. That is why the meetings include not just GM Brian Cashman, minor league head Mark Newman and minor league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras, but also consultations with trainers and doctors.
It’s good to know the team is being cautious. While the average fan probably thinks Joba should pitch this fall so that he can expand his innings limit for next year, we don’t have all the relevant information. They’ll have to get a real gauge on Joba’s shoulder before making any kind of decision on whether he pitches, ad what his role will be in the future.
Sherman also touches on Ian Kennedy, who was the losing pitcher in last night’s Bricktown Showdown. The Yankees are considering calling him up to make a start before the end of the season, but will only call him up if he’s penciled in. He could take Andy Pettitte’s final start after he closes down the Stadium, or he could take Pavano’s spot. At this point, there’s no reason to not give Kennedy another start. Why trot out an injured Pettitte or a healthy Carl Pavano (ha!)?