Yankees manager Joe Girardi picked Phil Hughes to fill the fifth spot in the starting rotation this year. This means that Joba Chamberlain will be working set-up for Mariano Rivera.
I know a lot of people (including Joba) may see this as somewhat of a demotion, but I really like the decision. Joba has the make-up of a reliever and compared to Hughes, is still a work in progress.
Hughes began his pro baseball career in the 2005 in the South Atlantic League. Joba’s minor league career was brief as he rose quickly through the ranks in 2007. Chamberlain has far more developing to do, and fortunately or unfortunately for him, this will take place at the major league level.
I once interviewed Dave Righetti when he started out as the Giants pitching coach. His main point about what’s different today than during his career is being played out here. Rags said that there is far more teaching now at the major league level, and rather than refining players once they make it to the Big Leagues, coaches are actively instructing in the majors.
Somewhat understandably, organizations have an impetus to rush young talent (particularly bonus babies) up through the ranks and they often arrive with the parent club with a lot of skills but not a lot of training.
Dave Eiland has his work cut out for him, but I think he’s up to the task. Hughes in the rotation and Joba in the pen is win-win in my books. Hughes had an ok spring with an ERA around 4.00 while Joba’s was almost quadruple that, but I don’t put much credence in spring training stats anyway.
Two other bright spots that emerged from the Hughes-Joba battle were Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Aceves. Both of them made quality runs at the fifth starter spot and have cemented their spaces on the staff. That’s very encouraging to me. Opening night is only 10 days away and things in Yankeeland are looking good!
Next on “As the Hot Corner Turns”: A-Rod is expected to meet with federal authorities in Buffalo on Friday, March 26, to discuss his dealings with Canadian sports doctor Anthony Galea, who is under investigation for allegedly prescribing banned substances.
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Written by Stephanie Geosits