Joba, Aardsma, and lessons learned

Phil Hughes and uncharted waters
Venditte out until mid-2013 following shoulder surgery
(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

When the Yankees play the second game of their three-game set against the Twins later tonight, they’ll do so with a new reliever available in the bullpen. Right-hander David Aardsma is set to join the club today after losing more than two calendar years due to injury. An oblique problem sidelined him in September 2010, then a torn labrum in his hip and Tommy John surgery (and a subsequent setback) cost him all of 2011 and all but nine games of 2012. It’s been a long road back, that’s for sure.

Since the Yankees are stuck in a tight division race with only those nine games left to play, there’s very little chance we’ll see the 30-year-old Aardsma in anything more than a low-leverage blowout situation. The eighth inning of last night’s game — the inning Cory Wade was unable to escape — seems like the kind of inning the former Mariners’ closer would be allowed to navigate. Not a particularly close game and with only a handful of outs remaining, not really enough for the other club to mount a legitimate comeback.

“When (Joe Girardi) calls down, or (Larry Rothschild) calls, or whoever does it, and my name is called, I’ll be ready,” said Aardsma yesterday. “And then I go out there and go pitch. I haven’t faced a big-league hitter in two years, but it’s a matter of, I know my stuff’s been good. It’s been playing really well down in Tampa. I know it’s not the same caliber, but I know my stuff is good. Now it’s just a matter of going out there, getting comfortable, and facing hitters. I’m not expecting to go out there in the toughest situation ever — I don’t think they would do that — but they do want me ready.”

Although the AL East crown has yet to be locked up, the Yankees don’t really need Aardsma to be much help this week. Earlier in the season after Mariano Rivera got hurt and Wade imploded? Yeah they needed bullpen help then but opted to wait for Joba Chamberlain. He struggled mightily at first before straightening things out and becoming the fourth wheel in the David RobertsonRafael SorianoBoone Logan end-game trio. The Yankees found out the hard way that not everyone coming back from reconstructive elbow surgery can be useful right away, but they got a little lucky with how quickly Joba turned things around.

That same problem — the general ineffectiveness following elbow surgery — could present itself with Aardsma, who really didn’t pitch all that well during his minor league rehab stint. The circumstances are much different though, as he’s just a spare arm for these next nine games and not someone the team is really counting on for an impact. Next year will be  a different story, but we have all offseason to worry about that. I’ll be surprised if Aardsma appears in even three of the next nine games, but even if he does, I think we all learned from Joba earlier this season not to count on him for much right away.

Phil Hughes and uncharted waters
Venditte out until mid-2013 following shoulder surgery
  • jjyank

    For sure, definitely not counting on him for much this year. It would be nice to find him some MLB hitters to face though before gearing up for 2013. He could certainly be a useful cog next year.

    • Joe

      He took Moose’s number!

      • Big Members Only (formerly RI$P FTW)

        Welcome to Mooseport! LOL!

  • Drew

    It’s really cool that Aardsma was able to come back this year. I am looking forward to him being a potential set up man next year.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    He could pitch less than one inning this year, and he’ll still get the World Series ring. Nice!

    • Travis L.

      Does he still get it if he isnt on the post season roster??

      • jjyank

        Yes. Pretty much anyone that ever sat in that dugout/bullpen will get one, even if they were DFA’d in June.

        • vin

          RAB really needs to add this to the website’s masthead. Seems like that question gets asked every other day. Not that it’s a bad question, but I wonder when it will become common knowledge to a baseball fan.

        • RetroRob

          I wonder if Darnell McDonald would rather have that ring or his dreads back?

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Darnell: “Hey, where’s my ring.”
            Cashman: “Oh, we were just fucking with you when we put you out there.”

            • jjyank

              That would be the ultimate trolling.

  • Brian S.

    Aardsma is really annoying on twitter

    • vin

      How so? I kind of like him on Twitter. I think it’s hilarious how has become best buddies with all the farmhands.

      • FLYER7

        Who goes from the 40 man? Justin Thomas? Andruw Jones should…someone else to the phantom 60 day? Keep in mind if Gardy comes back someone else has to go too…

        • Mister D

          Thomas is one of the first to go in the offseason, but dropping him right now eliminates the backup-backup plan in case there’s an uber-disaster involving Logan and Rapada. Always want to have a lefty, even a bad one, since there are always lefties who can make bad lefties look like Randy Johnson. But shorter. And happier. And probably much more attractive.

          • JonS

            Wade goes before Thomas. I’d say Lowe and Thomas may be even.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            This is why they keep Wayne Franklin and Billy Traber in a ventilated box in a locker somewhere.

            • jjyank

              Don’t forget Royce Ring!

          • Mister D

            Nailed it.

        • CS Yankee

          Andruw should go on the 60-day DL as he pulled “a lack of hustle” to go along with his “torn pitch reconignition”.

        • JohnnyC

          Cory Wade pretty much volunteered to be cut last night.

        • Adam

          Huh…was Thomas and Pearce.

      • Deep Thoughts

        Really? You’re going to defend someone against Brian S. about being annoying on the Internet?

    • Big Members Only (formerly RI$P FTW)

      So don’t follow him.

      That was easy, wasn’t it?

  • LiterallyFigurative

    Great job by Aardsma of getting back to the bigs despite the injuries and setbacks.

    Hopefully we can engineer a few blowouts so Aardsma, Gardner and Mesa can get a few innings.

  • Jonathan

    If the Yankees make the WS, is there any chance Mariano Rivera will be back and ready to pitch in October?

    • JAG

      I have to assume no. Would be so risky given that he might still come back for next year, plus he would be rehabbing in the post season.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Goodbye Sam Pearce. Thanks for the HR, Sterling’s week call, and a meme that made me unreasonably laugh for about a week.

  • leftylarry

    In writing the article did somebody forget Joba dislocated an ankle and that had as much to do with his lateness to the fray then his elbow did.