Jul
05

What to do with the fifth starter spot?

By

Once Chien-Ming Wang left yesterday’s game in the sixth after pointing to his shoulder, this post was inevitable. The Yanks will have a few decisions to make in the next few days. They’ll need a spot starter this Thursday in Minnesota, but then won’t need him again until July 21st. So what will the Yanks do to plug this hole both short- and long-term?

The Yanks will go the rest and rehab route with Wang, and Girardi said he expects him to be back this season. The feeling around the clubhouse is that Wang could be back in a month or so. Even so, the Yanks will need at least four appearances from a fifth starter: this Thursday, then three times after the All-Star break before they have another off-day.

Phil Hughes is the obvious choices, as the Yanks bumped him from the rotation for Wang in the first place. But if being stretched out is a concern for the Yanks, it would appear Alfredo Aceves would be the man for Thursday. He and Tomko are the only Yanks bullpen arms who have gone multiple innings with any regularity, and there’s no chance Tomko gets the start.

After yesterday’s game, Joe Girardi said of Aceves and Hughes: “They’re not in a position where you could run them out for 90 or 100 pitches.” He said Aceves could likely go 50 to 60, and Hughes 45-50. Again, the Yankees would have a chance to stretch out either one for the July 21st start, but may be reluctant to do so for Thursday’s.

One interesting name is Sergio Mitre. He’s been rehabbing and working back from Tommy John surgery down in Scranton, and has pitched fairly well this year. He’s only been at about 80 pitches, so he’s not totally stretched out either. But he’s further along than Hughes and Aceves, so the Yanks could opt to add him to the 40-man roster (placing Xavier Nady on the 60-day DL) and give him the spot start.

Here’s the wild card in this: How long will the Yanks keep Wang on the DL? He might be ready to return in a month, but the Yanks will want to play this one cautiously. They have an opportunity to make sure everything is back to normal before returning him to the majors, a process they seemingly botched earlier in the year. If the plan is to take their time with Wang, Hughes should be the guy. He’s the sixth starter, and if someone goes out for a prolonged period, he’s the guy.

What the Yanks could do, and I’d prefer this, is to recall Mitre tomorrow as a bullpen arm. Start Hughes on Thursday, knowing he can’t go long; Aceves and Mitre will be around for backup. Then option Hughes the next day so he can get a start in the minors. It would probably have to be Trenton, since Scranton’s All-Star game is the same week as the MLB one. That would probably put him at 80-90 pitches for the start on the 21st against the Orioles.

As they did with Joba, many Yankees fans are falling in love with Hughes in the bullpen. It’s hard not to. He’s been lights out since making the transition. But if the team doesn’t have good starters, a good bullpen is kind of moot. Why would they put an inferior pitcher in the rotation? Oftentimes, when there’s a poor starter on the mound, the bullpen doesn’t have a lead to protect.

In the end, I believe the Yankees will opt to keep Hughes in the bullpen and start an inferior pitcher in Wang’s place. They’ll have their own justification for it, and I hope it works out. It very well could. From a strategic standpoint, though, it’s not the most sound decision. But if Mitre or Aceves comes through, they’ll look like geniuses.

Categories : Injuries
  • Thomas A. Anderson

    Try Mitre for a couple of starts. If it doesn’t work, then send Phil down to the minors to get stretched out and send Bruney back to the 8th.

    This time around the Yanks can keep Wang in the minors as long as it takes to get him right.

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

      If Hughes was in the minors instead of the bullpen, Phil Coke would be our primary setup man leading to Mariano. Coke’s numbers have been OK, but look at his peripherals. Especially his FIP and LOB%. You really don’t want to overexpose Coke.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/stats.....position=P

      • V

        Because it’s smarter to keep a potential #2 pitcher as a 1 inning reliever.

        /Francessa’d.

        • Zach

          1955-2007. “How do you win championships? With great starting pitching!”

          2008-Present “How do you win championships? With greaet 8th inning pitching!”

  • LeftyLarry

    Mitre?

    In the words of the great author and poet , Yogi Berra: “He wasn’t good when he was good.”

    How about look at Zach MacAllister or Ivan Nova?

    Pitch counts issues?

    I’d rather see if Kei Igawa can give me 5 innings and 3 runs.

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

      I agree they both have more upside than a Mitre/Tomko, but Nova has had only 1 start in AAA, and Z-Mac is in AA. That would really be pushing it in both cases.

      Love to see it, but its just too soon.

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

    “Even so, the Yanks will need at least four appearances from a fifth starter”

    I’m not so sure of that. Looking at their schedule, you’ll definitely need someone to start the Thursday game against the Twins on 7/9. Then you have the All Star break, and the rotation starts over again. Then his turn(s) would be the 7/21 game vs BALT, 7/26 vs OAK and 7/31 vs CHI.

    Pete Abe said expectations are “within a month”. If he returns in 3 weeks, that would mean he makes the 26th start vs OAK, which would mean he only missed 2 starts.

    http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com.....p?c_id=nyy

    • Joe R

      +1

    • http://161stStreet.wordpress.com Chris A

      You have a great point, but do you really see Wang returning in 3 weeks? I know I don’t, I see 4 weeks as the earliest.

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

        Call me crazy, but knowing how hypersensitive the Yanks are with pitchers, I suspect this isn’t all that serious. They pulled CC out of a start and he wasn’t even hurt. I could be wrong, but a ‘strain with a touch of bursitis’ sounds a notch above regular wear and tear to me. Wang himself said the pain wasn’t serious, and nowhere near what it was when he hurt his shoulder in 01 and 05.

        • Zach

          Regardless, its more than normal soreness- Wang didnt even put up a fight to stay in yesterday.

          I dont buy the 3-4 week timeline. If they only give him one week off then why wouldnt they just have him skip a start? And if they give him 2 weeks off they’re going to have him do atleast 3 rehab games, which is another 2 weeks. So thats 4 weeks right there.

          • Tony

            Not to mention that Wang has been an unacceptable MLB option all season… They finally have their chance to work through a complete rehab process (one that doesn’t happen in the majors)

            • Joe R

              Really? Have you not seen his recent starts? He’s been better and better. He’s gone at least 5 and givin up no more than 3ER (except yesterday but he wasnt even hit hard). He probably wouldve went longer than 5 had he not been in the NL the last 2 games and hurt yesterday. He was much closer to being the 19 game winner we all know and love.

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

                This past start was the best he’s been all year, but he hasn’t been good. Even since returning from the bullpen. Here’s his line since being put back in the rotation:

                GS-6 IP-28 ER-20 H-34 BB-11 ERA-6.42 WHIP-1.61

        • Ed

          Wang himself said the pain wasn’t serious, and nowhere near what it was when he hurt his shoulder in 01 and 05.

          Considering when Wang got hurt in ’05, he woke up one morning with pain so bad he couldn’t dress himself, it’s not saying much that this isn’t as bad.

  • handtius

    The Yankees have been so adamant about their position on the young starters, but now their decisions are starting to bother me. If Hughes isn’t starting and stretched out for next year, they are doing this team a great injustice. He should be in the starting rotation next year and if he’s not stretched out, the team is back in the same situation as it is in this year. Hughes not having enough innings.

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

      If he was to stay in the bullpen for the rest of the year, he would pitch around 90 innings total at his current pace. He could get another 30+ in winter ball and be on track for 150+ next year. Plus he has gained lots of valuable MLB experience and confidence this year. I don’t think his future role as a starter will be hurt one bit, and actually would be helped by being our Relief Ace/Fireman this year.

      BTW-His role has expended of late, so 90 would be a bit light. He could easily get 100+ as the go-to setup man. Which would put him at 130+ with Puerto Rico mixed in.

      • V

        I think the winter ball idea is a dumb one. These guys DO need to rest a bit over the winter. Pitching year-round with a 2 month break can’t be good on the arm.

        • ArodMVP217 Retire 51

          doubt he is eligible for winter ball, unless he latches on in venezuela or something. If we have Phil in our bullpen after ASB, I will write damning things on my keyboard.

      • Mike bk

        and he was supposed to be limited to 180 this year with joba at 150, so congrats you just set him back a year and a half.

      • handtius

        I agree with V. Winter ball would not be good for Hughes. He needs his off season rest. If you want him starting next year, you don’t want him pitching into Dec/Jan, giving him only a month+ to rest. Plus, I’d rather have him capable of going 180-200 next year because you can’t predict who will stay healthy next year. I also think the learning process for a starter take longer then a reliever. Hughes needs to use his 3rd and 4th pitch more to solidify them.

  • gxpanos

    I have to believe the Yanks will do the right thing (spot start Mitre, transition Hughes). There’s no reason to believe the org. will do something dumb with Hughes re: his BP dominance. They didnt with Joba.

    • handtius

      true, I may have jumped the gun, one post above you. I just don’t want to see Hughes at 150 limit again next year.

      • Zach

        150 isnt his limit, its 180

        • handtius

          But, with the hypersensitiveness of the Yankees with their young guns, I wouldn’t expect Hughes to go more then 150 next year if he only gets to 100 this year.

  • Harry

    Y in the world would u mess with Hughes? Leave him be n bring up a AAA starter.

    • handtius

      They messed with him by putting him in the pen. Putting him back in the rotation would be correcting a mistake.

  • Billy

    mitre for now, hughes later. like joe said, if mitre comes through, cash will look like a genious (but not on epstein’s level). at some point, we have to see hughes back in the rotation, even if mitre pitches well. i think hughes will be a better starter this time and take what he learned in the bullpen (attack hitters, establish fastball early) with him.

  • Giuseppe Franco

    I kind of hope Hughes goes back to the rotation just to piss off the media and Francesa.

    But the more logical reason is that he does give this team a better chance to win those starts than anyone else.

    The Yanks went on a rampage in May because the rotation got on a roll and everything else fell into place. The lack of exposure and workload really benefited the pen even with the names Veras, Ramirez, and Albaladejo out there and without Hughes and Bruney.

    If they can win 20 of 24 games with that ragtag bunch, they should be able to get through the month of July with Aceves, Mitre, Coke, Bruney, and Robertson.

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

      “I kind of hope Hughes goes back to the rotation just to piss off the media and Francesa.”

      Its really unfortunate that this debate has become so polarized (even ideological) in nature where people gather in camps and have knee jerk reactions on both sides.

      I take these on a case by case basis. I supported Joba as a starter and support leaving Hughes in the bullpen. In each case, it makes the most sense considering the timing involved, the pitchers involved and the needs of the team.

      • Tony

        It makes no sense to think Joba should start and Hughes should be in the bullpen. They are starters, they’re more valuable as starters, and they should be starting. In fact, I would rather have Hughes starting in AAA than what he’s doing now. I saw this turn into a mess with Joba and I had no interest in seeing it happen again. Guess what?

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

          Exhibit A.

          • Tony

            This is like you saying my blanket opposition to murder is a knee-jerk reaction. No… I’m very anti-shortsighted management of 22 year old stud pitching prospects for a reason. I”m reacting to common sense.

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

              Right, because Baseball and murder are so similar. Perfect analogy.

              • handtius

                +1

              • Tony

                It’s a perfect analogy in the sense that wrong = wrong, and wrong never =/= wrong.

      • handtius

        I disagree. I know Hughes is doing great in the pen, but you have to look at the expanding effects of that decision. If Hughes stays in the pen, it limits his innings. He, again next year, can only go 160 innings. That leads the Yankees to have to sign another pitcher or leave them exposed when He hits his innings limit next year and have to find someone to fill in for the remainder of the year. Then you are left with a below replacement level starter for the stretch run, which doesn’t seem to be getting easier in our division. He need Hughes and Joba stretched out so we can field a ridiculous 5 man rotation for a full 162 season.

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

          160 is fine for a 5th starter, which I agree is what Hughes will be next year. Everyone doesn’t have to throw 200 innings, and the reality is only a handful of pitchers do in any given year. Typically around 1 guy per team reaches 200.

          http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/.....38;minip=0

          Also, you don’t know the Yanks will sign another pitcher. Aceves, Nova and Z-Mac are all possibilities for next year. Especially Ace, who Girardi and the org loves.

          • handtius

            I know very few get to that pitch count, but if you believe that we are going to get to the post season, 160 is not good enough. Joba is going to be limited to 160 and will have to be shutdown in August. Do you really want that to happen next year with Hughes? Plus, I doubt the Yankees will give a rotation spot to a AAA pitcher after being bit by it last year, I think they are going to want to ease these guys in from now on.

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

              That argument cuts both ways. I believe we will get to the playoffs this year, so he would get more than 90+ this year as well. Plus, his role has expanded recently, so I think the 90 projection (based on June) is a bit light.

          • V

            He’s not going from 90 innings (which is what he’d get as 1 inning reliever) to 160 year over year.

            • Zach

              he got 63 IP last year, so then his limit is only 130 this year?

      • dudes

        team needs = winning
        good starting pitching —> winning
        mitre =/= good starting pitcher
        phil hughes = good starting pitcher
        thus, phil hughes starting —> winning

  • Giuseppe Franco

    My one and only issue with Hughes is using him as a yo-yo moving him back and forth from one role to another.

    I’ll never be able to prove it, but I’m a big believer that the role switches for Joba last season had something to do with his shoulder problem in August.

    We’ll never know for sure, but losing Hughes for a similar reason would effing suck.

    Hughes did miss about a full season of baseball over 2007 and 2008 so it’s not a fear of mine based on nothing.

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

    So I realize I’m going to disagree with practically every person here, but…

    I keep Hughes in the bullpen.

    Over the past month, the bullpen’s been pitching to a 2.35 ERA and .179 BAA.

    In my mind it would be far more detrimental to mess up the bullpen, which would affect every starter‘s starts, than it would to replace the #5 starter in the rotation.

    Long term, is Hughes a starter? No question.

    But right now, the rule of thumb needs to be “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    Why risk moving Hughes, having to stretch him out and invariably having to fill two holes instead of one?

    It would make the issue much, much more complicated than it needs to be right now.

    Again, I do not advocate keeping Hughes in the bullpen long term.

    But right now you want to do as little as possible to disrupt a team that has won nine of ten games.

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

      *hugs*

    • Mike bk

      and if you do this you have another situation like joba the last two years and you will need another pitcher like pettitte to be sure you can get enough innings just because you focus is on this year and not the future.

      If hughes only pitches 100 innings this year they wont push him past 150 next year, 180 the following year so now he has wasted 2 years of being able to be a legit starter for us without being shadowed by someone else.

      • AndrewYF

        But the Yankees didn’t sign Pettitte because Joba had innings limits. They signed Pettitte because they needed one more starter in addition to CC, AJ, Wang and Joba.

    • Todd

      I completely agree. But I would throw Aceves into that discussion in regards to disrupting the team.

      So I go with either Mitre or who is pitching the best. Even if they are not “ready,” if Mcallister or Nova is hot and making pitches, let’s see what they have. Let’s see if they can give us 5 innings. But to try to stretch out Hughes or Aceves when they may only be needed for 4 starts does not make sense to me, especially when they have made the bullpen an area of strength.

  • Tony

    The “Wang shouldn’t get his job back after he rehabs” angle has been ignored to this point. They have essentially been forfeiting a game a week, to the point where there’s a thread full of people gloating about their faith paying off to the tune of 5.1IP, 4ER yesterday. He was already unacceptable in the spot, and now he has suffered another setback. That is Hughes’ rotation spot long-term.

    • handtius

      No it’s not. The Yankees are not going to squander a 2x 19 game winner for 2 reasons. 1. When healthy, he is our #2 starter, giving us 200+ innings and an ERA under 4, 2. If they don’t want to keep him, they want his value as high as possible to trade him and his highest possible value is a starting pitcher.

      • Tony

        You have no idea what Wang is when healthy. Unfortunately the year is 2009, not 2008. They already botched his rehab once, and he was back up here as an 8th starter. Don’t do it again.

        Wang “when healthy” has a 6ERA this year.

        • Zach

          “Wang “when healthy” has a 6ERA this year.”

          Hughes has a 5ERA this year while heathly

          • Tony

            …and that’s a lot worse than 6.

            • Zach

              No, but its not like Hughes’ performance forced the team to keep him in the rotation.

            • handtius

              Except, Wangs ERA was trending down. If you did not see him improving from start to start, you did not watch his starts. what was his GB/FB rate? and his pitch count when pulled?

              • Tony

                His ERA was trending down from 10? Incredible.

                • handtius

                  from 34 to 10? yes, that is trending down.

                • Tony

                  You know that’s even more meaningless than saying it trended down from 10, right?

                • handtius

                  um, no it’s not. And I never said it was trending down from 10. I said Wangs ERA was trending down.

        • handtius

          So, you’re are saying they should punt Wang’s season. Talk about wasting an asset. What do you do when Joba hits his innings limit? Then you’ll have another whole in the rotation. Having Wang in the rotation allows this team to transition Hughes into Joba’s spot in the rotation when Joba runs out of innings. If you have no Wang, you don’t have enough starters. You want Ace starting or Mitre, for the rest of the year. I don’t.

          • Tony

            I didn’t say have Wang put to sleep, I said have him actually rehab rather than drive him up from Trenton well before he’s ready to do anything because AJ has a hangnail. His stamina isn’t there, his mechanics are borderline, his velocity is down, his command is awful, and he has shown an overall lack of confidence on the mound. Those things require innings, which need not come against major league baseball teams.

            Have we really forgotten the circumstances of his return to the rotation? He wasn’t ready, and he still isn’t. In fact, the shoulder injury could very well just be the latest in a series of screw-ups resulting from that botched return.

            • handtius

              Ok, then what do you do when he is healthy and ready to go in 6 weeks? The season won’t be over. You want Hughes in the major league rotation permanently, but that leaves Wang with no where to go. He can’t stay in the minors. He has to return, he has no options.

              • Tony

                Wang hasn’t been healthy and ready to go since June 2008. That’s the definition of a “cross that bridge when you come to it” situation.

                • handtius

                  Well, I’m asking you what you will do if Wang is ready in 6 weeks. You content that Hughes has a permanent spot in the rotation and that If Wang makes a postseason start for the 2009 Yankees, you’ll know that something went horribly wrong. To me that means something went right, like one of our pitchers came back healthy.

                • Tony

                  That would mean that Sabathia, Burnett, Joba and Pettitte were all unavailable. That’s not “going right.”

                • handtius

                  I don’t agree. If Wang gets back to being healthy, I rather have him over Pettitte. That is just my opinion though. I think a healthy CMW gives you a better chance to win then a healthy Andy.

                • Tony

                  So when the 2007 playoffs start, we can count on a healthy CMW leading the way.

                • handtius

                  Short sighted much? If that’s how you think, we should bench a-rod, cano and Jeter was horrible in 2007, he should be benched too, so was Posada and Matsui. They should all be benched.

                  Wangs sample size is so small, you can not make a definitive conclusion on his ability to pitch in the post season.

                  Short-sighted fandom is the new yankee fan.

    • Zach

      unfortunately, Hughes didnt blow away win over the spot in the rotation either. Take away his one great start and one crap start and his era was still 5+. Tough to complain about getting a two time 19-game winner back on track.

      And its no an automatic loss every time hes out there. the team is 2-3 since hes returned, 1 game they got shut out and 1 game they scored 2 runs

    • ChrisS

      Well, an 8.00 era is better than a 30.00 era.

      Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want to see CMW struggle back from injury and then rebound a bit to finish out September with a 3.50-4.5 era only to completely self-destruct in game 4 of the ALDS and give up 8 runs in 2 IP. While Hughes may struggle a bit as a starter, his 3:1 K:BB ratio the last few turns through the rotation was sexy.

      • Zach

        I dont get what you’re saying, he had 2 bad starts in 07 so you dont want to see him in the playoffs?
        Should Arod be kept out of the playoffs?

        • Tony

          No, he has been sub-mediocre with a lack of stamina, command and confidence, so I don’t want to see him in the playoffs. It’s like some of you are watching Yankee Classics while the rest of us are watching Wang’s actual starts.

          • Zach

            How about you read his post Tony:

            “struggle back from injury and then rebound a bit to finish out September with a 3.50-4.5 era”

            that was the scenario in which i was commenting on

            • Tony

              Actually this is exactly what happened the last time he was rushed through rehab because of short-sighted thinking. The difference being that he was light-years ahead of where he is now before he got injured. If Wang makes a postseason start for the 2009 Yankees, you’ll know that something went horribly wrong.

        • ChrisS

          1) I don’t think CMW is the same pitcher he once was and I don’t think the Yankees can trust his stuff – especially when he’s a fairly hittable pitcher when healthy anyway.

          2) No, that’s a dumb question. They’re two completely different players.

          • Zach

            1. your original comment was:
            “struggle back from injury and then rebound a bit to finish out September with a 3.50-4.5 era”
            3.5-4.5 era is not the pitcher Wang once was?

            We’ve seen AJ blow up against Boston twice already this year, trust him in the playoffs in game 2 or game 6?

            2. Why is it a dumb question? ARod is obviously not the player he has been in previous seasons with his hip, and you said you cant trust Wang’s stuff, can you trust Alex in the postseason?

    • Nady Nation

      The Yanks have won 2 of his last 4 starts, and in the other 2, he gave up 3 runs each, while the offense combined for 2 runs total in those starts. How is the team “forfeiting” games he starts?

      • JobaWockeeZ

        Because they have an irrational lack of patience to CMW that every run now makes us lose games. It’s the most annoying thing I’ve ever heard here, much much worse than Joba to the pen since it is uncommon around here.

  • dudes

    the problem is that keeping him in the bullpen this year drops his innings cap next year, which is bad. by leaving him in the bullpen, you create a problem for next year.

    • ChrisS

      No, not really. The IP limit is a general rule of thumb developed by a sportswriter. As part of his rule of a thumb, a young pitcher’s workload shouldn’t increase by more than 30 innings over his previous career high, not previous year.

      What it will do is a limit Hughes from throwing more than ~200 IP next year and limit him to this year’s cap (~185), which is still a lot of IP.

      The Yankees, as an organization, have some startegy for dealing with young pitchers that isn’t published, so we don’t really know what the innings limit is for Hughes or his utilization plan going forward.

  • Jake H

    If the yanks were smart they would have wang out for a month on the DL conditioning. Then have him make some starts in the minors so lets say he misses 6 starts. I say Hughes then have Mitre tack on for him.

  • jorge

    i say give hughes a start for now. I think he is decent starter, but i believe people are making too much out of 3 good starts. He is still a mediocre pitcher so far with some good moments(not saying he wont be good, but he still wastes too many pitches in 4 innings)People are getting too excited cause he throws 96mph out of the pen, so they are more willing to trade wang, who has done so much more for this team, simply because of three really bad games after coming back from an injury when he was playing for the yanks. I think people who have been saying to get rid of wang aren’t real yankee fans. Those people would be willing to sell their own mothers for a title and give up on anybody on the first sign of trouble. Oh yeah, Dont take it the wrong way…

  • http://161stStreet.wordpress.com Chris A

    Albaladejo was callled up according to PeteAbe. Also…
    “Wang will be shut down until after the break then will try to start playing catch. No word yet on a Thursday starter. They could use the bullpen or summon a starter from Scranton.”

    http://yankees.lhblogs.com/200.....-recalled/

  • Bob Stone

    I prefer Joe Pawlikowski’s plan as outlined in this post. I also agree with Joe that the Yankees probably won’t do it. But I would love to see Hughes take the next start, go as long as is proudent, have Aceves and Mitre pick up the remaing innings that Phil can’t cover. Then stretch out Hughes in Trenton, carefully and slowly. Don’t rush him. If he’s not ready for the second fifth starter game you can always use Mitre at that time.

    • YankFanDave

      I agree with you and Joe. Whether the Yanks go this route depends on Bruney. If Bruney is effective his next couple of outings, the Yanks will likely go along the lines of Joe’s plan. I hope they have long memories of what happens when you have inferior starting pitching from last year and go this way.

  • V

    I’m most irritated at the fact that he’s a two-pitch pitcher in the bullpen, and not learning how to mix his pitches as needed by a starter. He’s going to need that cutter and changeup to be effective.

    He’s also not going to be throwing 95-96 as a starter.

    • AndrewYF

      He’s pretty much a two-pitch pitcher as a starter, too.

      And you really want him to learn how to throw a third pitch in the majors? Do you WANT the Yankees to lose games?

      • handtius

        No he’s not, FB, Cutter, Curve and he has a growing change.

      • Mike Pop

        Do you WANT the Yankees to lose games?

        No, we want the Yankees to WIN games. We want them to have the best shot at winning games, so that means you take the best starters to win the games. Hughes as the 5th starter and Mitre or whoever they call up to be in the pen>>>>>Mitre as the 5 and Hughes staying in the 8th.

        Joe Blanton was worth 2.3 wins last year while Brad Lidge was worth 2.2. That right there, alone, tells you that a decent starter is better than a lockdown reliever. This is why Hughes is more valuable to the team as a starter both now and in the future.

  • MikeD

    One concern with using both Hughes and Aceves for 40/50 pitches each on Thursday is it pretty removes *both* of them from the pen probably after tomorrow’s game, and then for a couple of games after Thursday. We’ll lose two of our better bullpen arms until next Sunday, and that could create a cascading impact on the other arms in the pen.

    Any consideration to giving Zach McCallister a shot? Joba, Hughes and IPK pretty much came right out of AA (Joba did have a few bullpen appearances in AAA), so I wonder if that’s an option. His numbers have been great, but I’m sure there’s some concern on rushing him, pitch and innings counts, etc.

    Igawa is such an extreme flyball pitcher. He wasn’t good in the old Stadium; the new Stadium could be deadly for him and the Yankees.

    • Bob Stone

      On answer to that is that you’re adding Mitre to the mix. Either he picks up the innings Hughes can’t cover or Aceves does (hopefully not both) and the other is available for relief. It still substracts a bullpen arm but not two. That’s why I would have Mitre pick up the innings Hughes doesn’t throw and then you have Aceves for his regular relief role after that.

    • Mike bk

      couple thoughts. ace can pitch 50 pitches thursday if he pitches probably 1 inning today and 1 tuesday. honestly i dont care if you call it a start for hughes on thursday but he should be stretched out to the 50-60 pitches in 3-4 innings that day so they can either stretch him again over the break or send him to AAA for a start. I didnt suggest sending him to AAA to get to 75 pitches last night because i wasnt positive on the recall rules. Then he would start around the 21st probably and can give them 85-90.

      with Wang i would give him the full 15 days and then he has a 30 day rehab clock where in Scranton he can work on any and everything to build his confidence, velocity and stamina. I love how everyone is talking about how Hughes is not stretched out and cant go deep right now. What is wang doing? He has only gone over 80 pitches twice and never longer than 5 1/3. If wang is gone for more like 6 weeks instead of 4 by then Joba can be inching much closer to his innings limit by then he should be around 120-130 with a about 6 weeks left in the year. If the Yanks are going to hold firm on their plan of Joba for 150 he would have to go to the pen and as much as i wouldnt like it stay there the rest of the year because they couldnt stretch him back out.

      As for Z-Mac…One he is 21 so no need to rush him but bigger is he is not on the 40 man so a roster move would have to be made eventually.

    • The Fallen Phoenix

      If you give McAllister a start, you need to:

      1) Add him to the 40-man roster.
      2) This starts his service clock.
      3) You immediately burn an option this year, as well, when he’s inevitably sent down when Wang is ready to re-join the rotation.

      That’s not even considering that

      4) He’s never pitched above AA.

      No, having McAllister make some spot starts is not a great idea. The Yankees have pitching depth that’s much closer to the majors – Hughes, Aceves, Mitre. As two of those pitchers are currently short-armed by the bullpen, the logical solution is Mitre.

  • ChrisS

    And I think I’m pretty much staying out of this whole “debate.”

    • Jake K.

      +1.

  • hawkins44

    If you assume that Wang IS coming back this year and he’s a STARTER in your rotation you cannot jerk a 22 year old pitcher from being a starter, to being a reliever, to a starter, back to being a reliever. Joe – I actually agree with your points, but only if Wang is a bullpen guy when/if he comes back.

    If you think Wang will come back within 6-8 weeks the only logical long term choice is Mitre or someone else not named Phil Hughes.

    • Mike bk

      if ur time frame is 6-8 weeks by then joba is nearing his innings limit and then wang if he goes back to the rotation could replace joba instead.

      • handtius

        I like this idea too.

    • handtius

      Or..when wang comes back he goes down to start at AAA to get his innings and comes up September for the stretch run.

      • Mike bk

        well once he goes on assignment he only has 30 days so unless he is shut down for 30 days before assignment which sounds unlikely the most he will be gone appears to be 45 days unless there is a setback which i dont think anyone should be or is hoping for.

  • Little Bill

    Hughes needs to be starting. When he goes back to the starting rotation, he will remain there for the rest of the year and his career. There will be no turning back. If Wang comes back, he will return in the bullpen or as a replacement for Joba.

    Expect to see the same arguments as “Joba to the bulllpen”-

    BUT WHO WILL PITCH THAT 8TH INNING? NOBODY ELSE CAN EXCEPT HUGHES AND JOBA!
    HE HAS BEEN DOMINANT IN THE BULLPEN
    HE IS A SPECIAL RELIEVER AND ORDINARY STARTER- SIGNED STEVE PHILLIPS
    HE HAS ELECTRIC STUFF IN THE BULLPEN
    HE IS THE BRIDGE TO MO AND EVENTUALLY MO’S HEIR APPARENT

  • Little Bill

    They did call up Albaledjo for Wang. This makes me think they’ll piece together a game on Thursday with Ace and Hughes and after that they don’t really need a 5th starter until June 21st because of the ASB. Hughes will have plenty of time to get stretched out.

    • Little Bill

      That should be July 21st, we’ve already passed June.

  • Tony

    For the people looking to Sergio Mitre…

    This is a guy who pitched to 5 ERAs in the NL East. Really?

    • Zach

      he bounced from bullpen-rotation in chicago and his first year in florida. was given a chance to start and pitched decent before he got hurt. he now has a 1.05 whip in AAA and 3.25 era with 0.9 BB9, for a spot start or two you could do much worse. look at what Nieve did for the Mets

    • Mike Pop

      It is pretty funny though. How the same people who are so against Joba in the pen are so for Hughes in the pen even though it is pretty much the exact same situation. I don’t get it.

      • Zach

        Joba-bullpen-itous has spread to Phil

      • Zach

        its also because Joba has been (regardless of what Francesa says) as a starter, while Hughes has struggled more

      • Little Bill

        Not me, and I think I might be the only consistent one on this very critical issue. I was against Joba to the pen and I’m against Hughes staying in the pen. You can’t get much more consistent than that.

        • handtius

          trust me, you’re not the only one.

  • MikeD

    Phoenix, those are valid points. Since they have other options, I agree that we’re not going to see McCallister added the 40-man roster. Speaking of which, the Yankees have stashed away two other pitchers with quite a bit of MLB experience on their AAA roster most likely for just this type of situation: Casey Fossum and Josh Towers. Neither have been all that good in the majors save for one season for Towers, but if they don’t want to go to Igawa and they don’t think Mitre is quite ready yet returning from surgery, then they could tap Fossum or Towers for a couple starts.

    Fossum has the better numbers and used to pitch well against the Yankees (and pretty much only the Yankees it seemed) so perhaps pitching for the Yankees might bring out the best of him for a short time. Another item in his advantage is he’s a lefty, as are the key Twins’ batters Mauer, Morneau and Kubel.

    Overall, they probably think Mitre has more upside, so he’ll probably be it.

    • ChrisS

      Fossum is playing for the Cubs now.

      • MikeD

        ChrisS, Thanks. I see he opted out of his Yankee contract in late June. Seems more and more that Mitre will get the shot since Girardi said earlier today that it won’t be Hughes, at least for the time being.

  • barry

    Hate me if you please, but Wang is a piece of shit. I’d kind of like to see what Aceves can do over a couple of starts maybe hes more valuable than anyone suspects.

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  • Doug

    Hughes is a starter period! They are messing with him right now and its not good for him or the Yankees. Get him in the rotation and streched out again.