Aceves to start Thursday

Kei Igawa sets his very own record
Game 83: Last trip to the Hefty bag

Per the Yankee beat writers on various blogs and Twitter, the Yanks have told Alfredo Aceves that he will start on Thursday in place of the injured Chien-Ming Wang. It will be Aceves’ first start of the season after he has appeared 21 times out of the bullpen. On the year, he is 5-1 with a 2.02 ERA in 40 innings. He has struck out 34 while walking just seven, and opponents are hitting just .208/.252/.354 off of him.

For now, Aceves’ start is a one-time event. The Yanks will not need the fifth starter again until well after the All Star Break, and the roster could look quite different by then. I had hoped to see Phil Hughes transition back into the rotation, but Aceves is more stretched out right now. He threw four innings with a low pitch count of 43 on Sunday and could probably go five or six innings if he again keeps that pitch total down.

Kei Igawa sets his very own record
Game 83: Last trip to the Hefty bag
  • Tony

    GGAA

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      I wish I knew what this meant.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        Go Getum Alfredo Aceves?

        • Zach

          Go-Go Gadet Alfredo Aceves?

          • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist
            • Charlie

              i laughed at this

              • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

                I like you, you’re easy.

                • Tony

                  Gritty Gutty Al Aceves, obviously

    • Steve O.

      Gritty Gangster Alfredo Aceves?

  • crawdaddie

    Ben,
    It’s the smart move for now. Girardi mentioned Monday that Ace can go 65 pitches. They won’t need a fifth starter again until July 21st. It gives them time to evaluate Mitre, Towers and ??? another 2 starts down in the minors. Also, the trading period will be in full swing by the 21st.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    If it’s one start I have no issues.

    If it becomes a habit then the Yanks have only solved one problem to create another.

    It’s not really easy to replace what Ace has done from the pen.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Unless they stretch Hughes out to play the same role Aceves did. Either way, Hughes’ development has been fucked with pretty badly and the Yankees may end up paying for it next year.

      • Ivan

        This wouldn’t be much of a problem if they left Hughes in the rotation instead of replacing him with CMW and now he’s hurt.

    • Danny

      i agree.

      it also weakens the pen if any of the other starters have a bad outing. but it definately helps that all of this is happening right before the ASB.

  • Ivan

    Surprise it isn’t Mitre.

    Nevertheless, I understand going to Aceves here considering he’s more stretch out more than Hughes.

    What got me thinking is though. The Yanks right now have really 2 starters going well right now in CC and AJ. Joba has been very inconsistent, Andy is a 4th or 5th starter and CMW is out for a month and was avg at best since coming in the rotation.

    Would the yanks make a trade for another SP or what would make more sense make a trade for RP and then Stretch Hughes out for the rotation and thus replacing CMW and who knows pitch to his ability. Maybe pitching from the BP could help him as a starter.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      Heh.

      So I take it you haven’t heard about Halladay?

      • Craig

        God i pray we land him for say a hughes or joba and jackson/romine

      • Ivan

        I know that, but im not gonna pay too much attention to it especially considering that chances are he’s not coming here.

  • Danny

    Hughes is not that far out from being taken out of the rotation, is it really that impossible for him to go back to being a starter this year?

    (not for thurs. but after the ASB)

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      Yes, but dangerous.

      • cult of basebaal

        How, exactly would that be “dangerous”?

        • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

          you risk injury stretching him out that much that fast.

          • cult of basebaal

            There’s really no evidence to actually support that though.

            Here’s what Will Carroll had to say about the “dilemma”


            Because of Wang’s injury, the Yankees will need to replace him in the rotation with someone. The first name on virtually everyone’s lips is that of Hughes, who would be coming back out of the pen. My feelings on his success in the role aside, the Yankees immediately waved this thought off, saying that Hughes couldn’t move to the rotation because he’s not “stretched out.” Really? Hughes has spent the better part of his life as a starting pitcher, and only the last month or so as a reliever. He threw 90 pitches in five of six May starts (yes, I’m including the one 89-pitch outing), and he threw 63 in a relief outing on June 10. Are we saying that a month in the pen de-conditions starting pitchers so much that they’re unable to slide back into the rotation? Isn’t that precisely what the Yankees did last year with Joba Chamberlain? Granted, that was the “plan” for Chamberlain, but having done it once, couldn’t they easily do it again? I’m not saying that Hughes could go from the pen to 100 pitches, but I do have a hard time believing that any pitcher loses so much capability in such a short time. There’s likely a lot of data that could support my position here, but common sense does it effectively enough. Again, all that said, I don’t think that Hughes should be moved, just that he could.

            The idea that Hughes wouldn’t be ready as a starter the next (post-asb) time the Yankees needed a 5th starter, or that having him start that game would somehow be gambling with his health, just isn’t true.

            • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

              “Isn’t that precisely what the Yankees did last year with Joba Chamberlain? ”

              Yes, and what happened with Joba in 08 on a hot night in Texas?

  • Little Bill

    They need Hughes in that rotation. What happens if Wang doesn’t come back or he comes back and is ineffective? Hughes should be in the rotation for the remainder of the season, period end of story.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      RT @bloggingbombers: Alfredo Aceves to start Thursday for Yankees. Team will reassess 5th starter situation during All-Star break, but Hughes won’t be in that mix

      • Danny

        I just dont understand why hughes wouldnt be in the mix. other than ace he is the other best option.

        • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

          Because:

          1-He’s not stretched out and it would take weeks to do so

          2-You would lose Hughes services for the 3 weeks it would take him to get stretched out, since it would be done in AAA.

          3-Wang is expected back in a month, which means Hughes would get stretched out for only one start

          4-Taking Hughes out of the bullpen would make Brian Bruney our setup man, and he’s been awful lately.

          5-Coke would be the second choice as setup man, and if you look at his peripherals you’ll understand why they don’t want to overexpose him.

          It just makes no sense whatsoever. Our bullpen has been strength of ours lately, and you would be turning it upside down for one Hughes start.

          • Charlie

            There’s no way it would take 3 weeks for hughes to get stretched out. that’s way too long, he’s been a starter for his whole career. And Wanger is probably gonna be out for longer than a month from what i’ve seen/heard. I’m fine with Aceves for this one start, but after the ASB it would be ludicrous to not have hughes in the rotation.

            • Little Bill

              And Wang’s not exactly a sure thing to come back and come back healthy. What if he comes back and goes down permanently? They should just make Hughes the 5th starter now for the rest of the season. Trade for a bullpen arm. Give more time for Wang to get back and have him start for Joba if he gets close to his innings limit.

              • Charlie

                agreed, though i don’t see a need for a trade for a bullpen arm unless we’re not giving up much

            • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

              You’re simply wrong about that. Hughes hasn’t gone longer than 2 innings in nearly a month

              http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/gamelog?playerId=28638

              If called upon, Hughes could go 40-50 pitches now. To get him up to 100 pitches, you raise his increments by 10 pitches an outing, like they do in Spring Training. That’s 4 starts in AAA, which is 3 weeks.

              • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

                BTW-The “40-50 pitches” was quoted from Girardi. He said it sometime last week.

              • Charlie

                i’m no expert in relievers transitioning to starters, but i would think you could raise his increments by more than 10 pitches an outing. And if not, then fine, let him work the three weeks and be in the rotation after the ASB.

                • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

                  Have you ever watched Spring Training? That’s how they do it. Increments of 10 pitches per outing.

                • Charlie

                  so are you really suggesting that the yanks leave hughes in the bullpen for the remainder of the season? Cause that’s what it seems like you’re leaning to.

                • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

                  He’ll be fine out there for this year, and I think it will even help his development long term to be facing MLB hitters in the pen, as opposed to minor leaguers as a starter.

                  As far as his innings go, he can pick up another 30+ in winter ball and be fine to be our 5th starter next year.

                • MattG

                  I think 15 pitches per outing is more the norm. Spring training is 6 weeks, and the don’t have enough innings for everybody. It’s not the right circumstance.

                  Plus, Hughes was throwing 90+ pitches less than 5, 6 weeks ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if he could jump from 45 to 90 in 4 outings.

                • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

                  Exactly, 4 outings is about 3 weeks, and Wang is due to come back in a month. Why bother? For 1 start? Not worth losing him for 3 weeks or the extra strain on his arm.

                • Charlie

                  he’s supposed to hit 180 this year, and even with 30 extra in winter ball, if he’s a reliever the rest of this season he won’t get to that number.

                • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

                  Where on Earth did you get the 180 number from?

                  He threw about 100 innings total last year (including the 30+ in the AFL)To have him throw 180 this year would be an increase of 80 innings in a single calendar year, which is begging for an arm injury.

                  Even if you go by his career innings high (116), that’s still an increase of 64 innings, and prudent GM’s NEVER want to increase a pitcher under 25 innings by more than 30-40 innings in any season.

                  http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/H/Philip-Hughes.shtml

                • MattG

                  Who cares when Wang is due back? Wang is the 6th starter now. Let him be the swing man.

                  The Yankees need Hughes to pitch. If he can do half as well as a starter as he has relieving, he’s your #3 guy, and pitching playoff games in October.

                • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

                  Sorry, that was poorly worded:

                  “prudent GM’s NEVER want to increase a pitcher’s innings (who is under 25 years old) by more than 30-40 innings in any season. “

                • cult of basebaal

                  Hmmm, 3rd times a charm perhaps, since RAB doesn’t seem to like properly done HTML.

                  There’s very little evidence that it would (by necessity of avoiding injury) take 4 weeks to get Hughes stretched out.

                  Pitchers, even young ones have bounced back and forth between the pen and starting with essentially no ill effects for as long as baseball has been played.

                  Seriously, look up the game logs for Johan Santana in 2000, 2001, 2003.

                  Here’s one sequence covering just under one month in 2003 (5/15-6/7):
                  53
                  33
                  13
                  23
                  9
                  15
                  82

                  Strangely enough, Santana didn’t spontaneously combust before leaving the mound …

                • cult of basebaal

                  And I’ll repost what I posted above, from Will Carroll, on the subject of “stretching” Hughes out to start at this point.

                  Because of Wang’s injury, the Yankees will need to replace him in the rotation with someone. The first name on virtually everyone’s lips is that of Hughes, who would be coming back out of the pen. My feelings on his success in the role aside, the Yankees immediately waved this thought off, saying that Hughes couldn’t move to the rotation because he’s not “stretched out.” Really? Hughes has spent the better part of his life as a starting pitcher, and only the last month or so as a reliever. He threw 90 pitches in five of six May starts (yes, I’m including the one 89-pitch outing), and he threw 63 in a relief outing on June 10. Are we saying that a month in the pen de-conditions starting pitchers so much that they’re unable to slide back into the rotation? Isn’t that precisely what the Yankees did last year with Joba Chamberlain? Granted, that was the “plan” for Chamberlain, but having done it once, couldn’t they easily do it again? I’m not saying that Hughes could go from the pen to 100 pitches, but I do have a hard time believing that any pitcher loses so much capability in such a short time. There’s likely a lot of data that could support my position here, but common sense does it effectively enough. Again, all that said, I don’t think that Hughes should be moved, just that he could.

                • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

                  He proved nothing, see my last response to this.

                • cult of basebaal

                  And you proved even less.

                  Coincidence isn’t causation.

                • Andy

                  ummm… math major, he pitched 146 innings in 2006, you forgot to add his A ball numbers – which is why everyone has 180 for this year, putting him as good to go for 220 next year (if he could get there).

          • cult of basebaal

            5-Coke would be the second choice as setup man, and if you look at his peripherals you’ll understand why they don’t want to overexpose him.

            Uh, actually, I have … and I have no idea what you’re talking about.

            Is the the .593 OPS against RHB?

            The .936 WHIP?

            The 5.2 H/9?

            The .614 OPS against in High Leverage Situations?

            Elaborate, please.

            • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

              He was about 1:1 K:BB for a while but that seems to have stopped. Still, his FIP is 4.36 at the moment which means there is a good chance of explosion (see: Ramon Ramirez for an example).

            • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

              The 70% LOB%

              The 4.36 FIP with a 2.97 ERA

              The 0.2 WAR

              http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=5535&position=P#advanced

              He’s an average reliever/good lefty specialist. Not a primary setup man.

              • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

                Isn’t 65-70% LOB pretty average?

                • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

                  Yeah, and you need better than that from your primary setup man. That’s a guy who will be coming in with men on base all the time, you need someone with blow away stuff. Coke doesn’t have it.

            • MattG

              No, it’d be the 4.36 FIP, 6.94 K/9 and 1.24 HR/9.

      • Charlie

        what the fuck??? Hughes won’t be in the fucking mix?? What is going on here, do they actually think he belongs in the bullpen? God, i’m hating this phil hughes situation more and more every day

      • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

        Well it’s not like Hughes has an innings cap he needs to hit or anything. Hahahaha. Ha. :(

    • Tank Foster

      I want Hughes starting for the Yankees ASAP, but I actually think they are doing the right thing not putting him back in there now. They’re being careful with him. They don’t want to jerk him around to try to get him ready to start, only to flop him back to the bullpen if/when Wang comes back. I’m sure they have a plan to have Hughes begin starting again at some point this year.

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

    I suspected this was the way it would go the minute I heard Girardi say “we want to see how things play out this week” on the post game a few days ago.

    That told me that Aceves was their 1st option, but they might have an emergency in between and be forced to use him out of the bullpen. I guess with Sabathia and Burnett healthy and ready to go, they feel confident about leaking this out now.

  • MG

    this isn’t as much of a problem as some of you think. First of all, neither Aceves or Joba will pitch again after this start until July 20th, that’s 10 days in between starts. So each would be missing a start anyway. The Yankees All star break is 4 days, not 3 for some unknown reason this year. After the break, the #5 starter (I’m assuming Aceves will be slotted there) makes 3 starts before the end of July and the trading deadline. If he pitches really well and solidifies the rotation there will be no need to make a trade, if he’s just OK then the Yankees can look to pick up a veteran at the deadline unless Wang is ready to come back. If you remember, Wang had a shoulder injury in 2005 and the first reports said he was gone for the year-then, all of a sudden, he was back in the rotation and OK. So this may not be that important anyway as August hits.

    For all of Aceves’ contributions in the bullpen, if you look at his appearances this year, the Yankees are 12-9 in games he’s pitched and 3 of those were blowout wins. It’s not like he is completely irreplaceable at the expense of a very questionable starter in the rotation. Also, Phil Coke has been lights out recently in addition to Hughes so between the two of them I see the ‘bridge to Mo’ in close games very well covered even if Bruney is at best a question mark. Coke has an under .200 battting average against both lefties and righties so the need to make switches in the middle of innings really isn’t something needed on a regular basis. If I’m Girardi I switch off Hughes and Coke for the 7th and 8th innings and plan on giving them the whole job (unless one of them doesn’t have it that night) up to Mo in the 9th.

    Aceves isn’t really an 8th inning guy anyway, his biggest opportunity was against the Sox in the game CC had them in the lead and he probably pitched his worst inning of the year and coughed up the lead. If you also read his quote after Sunday’s game, it said, ‘I’ve been a starter for 6 years, I prefer to start.’ Since he’s more than earned that opportunity with his performance this decision gets an ‘A’ from me.

  • Charlie

    Shit. I don’t like this move very much at all. Aceves has been amazing out of the bullpen and that’s where he belongs on this team. Hughes should be in the starting rotation, period, end of story. The yankees are messing with hughes’ development and turning him into a full blown reliever. This is putting the present way too far ahead of the future.

    • Charlie

      sorry little bill, i honestly didn’t realize you said “period, end of story” also.

  • Danny

    or maybe they saw joba get hurt last year after going from the pen to the rotation and dont want that to happen to Hughes. either way i hope they dont loose the idea of Hughes being a starting pitchaaaa!!!!!11!

  • thurdonpaul

    i know im off subject, but, i havent seen tommy……… i forget the rest of his name
    is he still around ?

    • MattG

      He got a job writing for the Onion.

      /fake’d

  • mustang

    “I had hoped to see Phil Hughes transition back into the rotation, ”

    I’m shocked.

    • Charlie

      ??

      • mustang

        I was being sarcastic.

  • Biship

    If they were worried about his transition from the bullpen back to the rotation then they should have never moved him in the first place.

  • Tank the Frank

    I’m sure the Yankees have every intention of having Phil Hughes as a starting pitcher in the future. This organization knows how valuable starting pitching is. As for who makes the start Thursday – it’s been said already – it really doesn’t matter.

    What does matter, in the long term, is Hughes’ development. To me, this puts a lot of pressure on Joba to improve next season with his increased innings capacity. It looks next year’s Hughes will be this year’s Joba: 5th starter, low innings limit.

    What matters in the (somewhat) short term is that the team’s pitching staff is ready to go for the playoffs. Ivan already said it above, we only have CC and AJ going well right now. Andy pitched brilliantly against CLE in 2007, but I for one wouldn’t trust him this year in the playoffs. Nor would I trust Joba for that matter, although he’ll most likely be pitching in the playoffs out of the pen. So, for me, the most important thing is getting CMW healthy and right! We need a solid #3 starter who can AT LEAST keep us in a game. That’s what I’m most worried about. Everything else will fall into place.

  • MattG

    Why would this not work:

    1. Pitch Aceves AND Hughes Thursday. Let Aceves have 65 pitches if he’s going well, relieve him with Hughes, who I assume can throw 45.

    2. Keep the pitchers in rotation, and give Hughes a start, and 60-65 pitches, 5 games later (the 17th?).

    3. Start Hughes on the 25th, giving him 75-80 pitches.

    Voila–all stretched out. There’s extra rest in between, so he can get in his throw days, and build up strength real gradual like. What’s more, the pen will have the opportunity to rest, so the short outings won’t hurt too badly.

    • Charlie

      genius. Any plan that involves hughes in the rotation is good for me.

    • Tank the Frank

      And Aceves goes back to the pen?

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      But then neither Philly nor ace can come out of the pen effectively…but I’m for it anyway!

      • MattG

        Aceves would be lost 3-4 additional games, because he would be needed in reserve to relieve Hughes on the 17th. I would say Aceves would be back to his accustomed role by the 20th or 21st, depending on how much he is needed on the 17th. If Hughes can get through 5 innings, you may need Aceves for 2 or less.

  • cr1

    There’s something not very convincing about this whole scenario. The excuse that Ace is so much more stretched out than Phil just doesn’t wash. There’s another reason they prefer to put Ace in the rotation right now rather than Phil. It may or may not make sense, but there’s some other rationale in their minds.

    • CT Yankee

      I think they like phil in the pen more than AA. The stretched out argument is pathetic. Its going to be a nightmare when Joba runs out of innings

      • Lanny

        Whats to get? They are not messing with a good thing right now in Hughes and they don’t want to deal with 2 rookie starters again.

  • Hawkins44

    You can’t transition Phil Hughes back to a SP unless you think Wang is done for the year….. only 5 slots gents.

    you can’t go SP, then RP, then SP, then RP….

    and I find it laughable that the 8th inning got important again the wake of the Joba argument….

    • CT Yankee

      I agree with you BUT, keeping phil in the BP means hes pretty much dead to us next year as well with these arcane inning limits

  • Lanny

    Isn’t this why we have starters working in AAA??

    Why mess with Aceves and the pen like this?

    • DSFC

      Because the starters in Scranton are all complete garbage. Towers and Mitre? Ugh. Guaranteed losses right there.

  • Rob in CT

    I want Phil Hughes to be a starter for the Yankees, but I’m not in a huge rush (anymore – I think I’ve learned my lesson over the past couple of seasons). If he relieves the rest of this year I’m not going to get upset – unless there is a *clearly* inferior pitcher in the rotation. He’s still very young, and is experiencing success getting ML hitters out. I would like to see more multi-inning stints, though, which should happen with Aceves removed from the bullpen.

    Aceves is a pretty good pitcher and I’d like to see what he can do in the rotation. I figure he’s this team’s Ramiro Mendoza (but maybe a bit better than El Brujo, actually). He’s not a random old guy or organizational soldier.

  • Pingback: The Alfredo Aceves Appreciation Thread | River Avenue Blues