The Upcoming Rotation

Gamel keeps hitting in Staten Island loss
Russell Martin's Adjustment
Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II, AP

Part of the problem with having a six-man rotation and an off day and using a starter in relief is that we don’t really know who’s pitching when. The Yankees announced on Monday that A.J. Burnett will open their series against the Angels on Tuesday, and will be followed by Ivan Nova on Wednesday and Bartolo Colon on Thursday. That’s the same three guys they ran out there against the White and Red Sox late last week, so they didn’t do any serious rearranging.

Despite throwing just 13 pitches (including four intentional balls), Phil Hughes‘ relief appearance against the Red Sox on Sunday was enough to eliminate him from his scheduled Tuesday start, which is unsurprising. There’s really no reason to push it with the guy after he spent roughly three months on the DL with some kind of shoulder issue. Who knows how many warm-up pitches he threw in the bullpen. I’m guessing he’ll start at some point next weekend against the Rays, or at least I hope so. I’m not sure I could handle another 25-year-old starter being banished to a relief role because “his stuff plays up in the bullpen.”

CC Sabathia is getting an extra day of rest, starting on Friday instead of Thursday. The whole point of sticking with the six-man rotation is to give him bit of a breather here and there, and one extra day at a time is pretty much the best way to go about it. There is such a thing as too much rest for a starting pitcher, and the last thing the Yankees need to do is knock Sabathia out of his rhythm this late in the season. I assume Freddy Garcia will start on Saturday, putting Hughes on track for Sunday. We might see him in relief on Tuesday or Wednesday in that case. Ugh.

As I wrote yesterday, the Yankees are hamstrung by what amounts to a pair of dead roster spots: the 13th pitcher (seems to be Luis Ayala at this point), and Jorge Posada. It’s not the end of the world but it’s not ideal either, though it looks like they’re going to stick with it for the next few weeks. The position players will get their rest in September, but now’s the best time to take the foot off the starting rotation gas because you’d like to get them lined back up and working on the regular schedule in mid-to-late-September. For now, Sabathia gets an extra day this week and I’m sure we’ll see the other guys get an extra day in the coming weeks.

Gamel keeps hitting in Staten Island loss
Russell Martin's Adjustment
  • Tyler

    At this point, it’s just sad to see posada in this position. While he wants to help the team anyway he can, the fact of the matter is that the team is better without him on it. And as for the 13 pitchers, I definitely think the yanks should send down noesi to stretch him out a bit in AAA.

    • YankeesJunkie

      Agreed. At this point Noesi is the seventh reliever and long man and it would be beneficial for his development to go back down and get more consistent work. I have a feeling that he will be contending for on of the starting spots when the season starts next year if not he will be on the firsts ones up.

  • Jesse

    I’m glad you agree using Hughes in the bullpen is a bad idea. I mean, the guy is a starter. He needs to start. Personally, I’d rather have him go to AAA to start instead of be a long guy or whatever in the bullpen.

    • YankeesJunkie

      Agreed, while it is the not the best situation it at least will get him some work. However, once the playoffs come he can become a reliever along with whomever else does not make the rotation.

      • Jesse

        I bet Hughes can bounce back and start postseason games, and come postseason I bet it’ll be CC, Nova, Hughes, and Garcia. I think Colon will start to fizzle out a bit because the innings will eventually catch up to him, but he’ll be in the bullpen. And I’m done with Burnett. I think he’ll just melt and he’ll be off the postseason roster.

        • YankeesJunkie

          Hughes’ start in Chicago was definitely promising on his road back, but it was still one start. He will need to continue to show that he can use three pitches have better command of the plate. On the Colon issue I was just thinking that as well and if he does start to fizzle out a little bit, especially later in his starts he would be a great weapon out of the pen in the post season for 1-3 innings. Honestly, I can’t see Burnett completely off the playoff roster as he could be used as long man and that he has two years left on his contract after this.

          • Jesse

            True, Hughes does have to prove that he can use three pitches, four seamer, curve, and cutter/change effectively. I’ve always been a Hughes supporter. I’m really pulling for him to do it. And with Burnett I don’t know. Maybe he can, but right now there’s no doubt that he won’t start any playoff games the way everyone else is going. Right now he’s the number 6 starter, but won’t get demoted because of that ridiculous contract. But, I have heard in the past he would be a good option in the bullpen because of his electric stuff. He can empty the tank, as Al Leiter would say pitching in relief in the postseason.

            • smurfy

              Hey, yeah, it just strikes me that AJ is like Eckersley was. Talented, but failing. Oakland figured to try him in short relief, which took, quite nicely.

              • MannyGeee

                Oakland wasnt paying $17M for Eck… along with Soriano and Mo… that is whoooooooole lotta scratch in the bullpen.

  • YankeesJunkie

    While I am still upset with the six man rotation for now it makes sense since there is no reason to put Hughes or Nova in AAA or in the pen as a long reliever, however the latter seems inevitable for one of the pitchers. The hardest part about this entire situation is that Montero is still down in AAA and the Yankees virtually have a wasted spot on the roster since 3rd string DH is not a position. I will be interested to see what the Yankees decide to do when A-Rod comes back since it will still be two weeks until September 1 and I am assuming that the Yankees don’t want to demote Nunez since he is the only one that can play SS. In addition, it will also be interesting to see what type of playoff roster that they will put in the playoffs since you only really need 10 maybe 11 pitchers while having the versatility of 14 or 15 field players.

    • 28 this year

      i would love to see one day, a team just call up a random player that could be like 18 or something just because they are so ridiculously fast just to serve as the pinch runner late in a playoff game. Like it almost behoove a team to sign someone like Usain Bolt lite (baseball equivalent) just to serve as a pinch runner. Its crazy and probably not the greatest but you just get someone that you just have practice sprints and stealing bases just for that one moment.

      • YankeesJunkie
      • JohnnyC

        Freddy Guzman (2009) says Hi!

      • Jesse

        Stealing bases isn’t just pure speed. But i’m sure you know that. I think Nunez can be that guy come postseason time.

      • John

        Homer Bush 1998 says hello too

        • Matt Imbrogno

          Please don’t feed Michael Kay’s favorite narrative.

  • Kiersten

    Good. I got tickets for Friday with intentions of seeing CC.

  • Bart

    2 things…1, no A-rod, DH him and play either Chavez or Nunez, and 2, leave AJ at home, he’s a bum that gets paid too much, what a waste. Pay players on long term merits, not one season..,,

  • Bart

    2 things…1, no A-rod, DH him and play either Chavez or Nunez, and 2, leave AJ at home, he’s a bum that gets paid too much, what a waste.

    • Xstar7

      A-Rod has played a great 3rd base this year and is one of the most important bats in this lineup.

      As much as we’d love to just dump AJ, that ain’t happenin’. And Chances are that he’ll outproduce Hughes over the remainder of the season anyway.

    • Jim S

      Have you even watched any of the games this year? You want Nunez at 3rd over A-Rod?

      • Troll Killer

        Don’t feed the whores, er I mean trolls.

  • Inevitable

    Hughes will end up back in the bullpen for the rest of the season. I doubt he even gets one more start. Noesi will get demoted for ARod. And I don’t really see how they fit Montero on that roster (in August) without dumping Posada’s corpse. So he won’t get the call until September.

    • gargoyle

      That’s the way it should be. The faith shown in Hughes here is not realistic. He’s the worst of the 6. Burnett is wildly inconsistent but I’d rate him a much better chance of giving them a quality playoff start than Hughes, who simply has nothing.

      • V

        I forgot that Hughes was a free agent after the season. In this case, I agree with you.

        However, if it happens that Hughes is still under team control for several seasons, it behooves the Yankees to get him right as a starter. Because, you know, good starting pitchers go for $16-24M per season on the open market.

        • nsalem

          Phil Hughes will be a free agent in 2014

  • Kevin

    Sad to say but Aceves could have easily done that job. He has and will be one of the biggest mistakes the Yankees have made in the past several years.

    • V

      1) Screwing up Wang’s recovery from injury (really? Don’t use the leg AT ALL?)
      2) Screwing up Joba’s development
      3) Letting Aceves walk
      4) Screwing up Hughes’ development (in progress)

      • The Big City of Dreams

        Number two still pisses me off

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    Pitching, pitching and pitching is the main factor in any teams chance of winning the WS ring. I don’t disagree with the thought that the Yankees have mishandled the Joba, Hughes and Kennedy development. They could not be handled the same. Every athlete has their own characteristics such as physical and mental even the type of pitcher starter or reliever.

    Their is never enough time with the Yankees for development. It seems to me that Cashman is willing to hold on to the prospect but some ownership interference has been heard. Wandy Rodgriquez as a pickup. Please!

    IMHO, we have a decent lead in the wc and Colon and Freddie need rest. But Nova, Hughes, Burnett need to throw every five days to stay sharp or correct issues plaguing inconsistency. CC needs to cut down on his innings. There are plenty of opts in August to keep guys healthy and sharp. Putting Hughes in the bullpen is counter productive to his goal of being a credible starter so many things can go wrong even with the warmup.

    When the playoffs role around pick the best 4 starters at that time. The bullpen is set. The only real issue will be Jorge. With less playing time his bat will be less potent but unless he asks off of the roster then he’ll be on it. Too many fans and some players will be hurt unless its Jorge’s choice.

    • Troll Killer

      No Wandy. Nooooo!!

  • Yank the Frank

    I’m going to tonights game and was hoping to see Hughes continue where he left off from his last start, ignoring Sundays debacle. Now it’s AJ. I’m in for an expensive night of agita.

    • Jim S

      Well you have to figure one of the ways the Yanks can recoup their losses with AJ is to keep on rolling him out there. Increased beer sales!

  • CMP

    Haren vs The deuce tonight. That should be fun to watch.

  • Winston Smith

    So of all the people to match up against Danny Haren Joe chooses AJ Burnett, the worst option? Is he serious? I guess he’s conceding tonight’s ballgame and hoping that we can win the last two. Call up Montero.

    • Jerome S.

      “Our pitching isn’t good enough. Call up a bat”.


      • Boo Radley

        Our one pitcher isn’t good enough. The rest, the best 5, are but we have to cater to Burnett.

  • Steve

    It’s a bad move to skip Hughes. There’s absolutely no reason for him not pitch – I do not by any means believe this has anything to do with the Yankees not wanting to push it with him. 13 pitches is nothing ………..and the Yankees already had said that he could still start if he threw an inning. No, the reason Phil is not starting is because he is the odd man out, the low man on the totem pole. Nova has a spot in the rotation locked up and clearly the Yankees wanted to keep him on a regular routine. AJ is not going anywhere – and I don’t think he deserves to lose his spot in the rotation as he hasn’t been THAT bad. Phil has almost no rope left with the organization and I think he’s just going to have to prove a lot to him. Now I don’t mind the decision of picking Nova, but it’s stupid for Phil now to be sitting around waiting for the odd opportunity to start. IF he starts Saturday, it’s 11 days since his last start. If he doesn’t, then it will be even longer. I don’t see how that helps him – he needs to start; that’s why I think he should be in AAA now. Unfortunately I think it’s clear that in order to get him work, the Yankees are going to have Phil pitch out of the pen. The pen, IMO, should not be an option for him at all – you’re either a starter or you’re not. They don’t know what they are doing with him.

    Make no mistake, I don’t think Hughes is very good and I have no problem with him being the low man on the totem pole – I just hate that he’s really not getting anything out of it by being up with the team.

  • Monteroisdinero

    I say let Phil and Nova pitch as much as possible and rest Bart and Freddy as much as possible as long as we are comfortable for reaching the playoffs.

    Phil is either a starter or not. If not, bye bye.

  • Bronx Byte

    I hope I’m wrong but after tonight a lot of fans will say Burnett belongs in the back end of the bullpen with junk innings even with his high salary.
    The Yankees are supposed to field the team that gives the best chance to win. At best, Burnett is a coin flip.

  • JohnC

    We get 1 break in this series in that we miss Weaver becuase of his suspension