Hughes Wins Rotation Spot
Leading the “Not Shocking News of the Day” category, the New York Yankees have announced that Phil Hughes will be the team’s 5th starter, beating out Joba Chamberlain and others for the spot, reports Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
It seems like forever ago that Hughes was coming into his own as a starter until being pulled in the middle of a no-hitter with a hamstring injury that cost him the rest of the 2007 season. Yes, 2007. It was that long ago.
A lost season in 2008 and a strong season of relief in 2009, and it appears the Yankees are finally ready to let Hughes try to pick up where he left off in the rotation almost 3 seasons ago.
Chamberlain, on the other hand, never seemed to be able to consistently transfer his stuff into starting pitcher-mode in 2009. What is unknown is if or how much the Yankees self-imposed innings limits restricted or influenced the young pitcher and his approach to starting. It was evident, however, to anyone who watched him pitch, that the Joba who came out of the bullpen boiling-over with confidence was not the same Joba that started games for the Yankees.
This move makes sense for the Yankees, and was virtually inevitable. Joba should be able to transition back to the bullpen, and they have nothing to lose by giving Hughes another shot. Worst case scenario, Hughes ends up back in the pen and they have two strong set-up men.
Going strictly by the “feel-test,” this seems like the right move. Hughes just always felt like a starter, even last season when he was having success in the bullpen. Chamberlain always felt like a late-inning reliever, even when he had good starts. It’s not scientific, but the game got by on instincts for over a century, and occasionally they still get one right.