Right-hander reliever Joba Chamberlain will likely be out for the season after having surgery Thursday night. Chamberlain suffered an open dislocation of his right ankle while playing on a trampoline with his son. Chamberlain who hasn't pitched since June 5 was working his way back from Tommy John surgery and was doing well looking to return sometime in July. Some Yankee officials are optimistic that even with this latest injury he could still return late in July, but GM Brian Cashman says "it's highly unlikely."
All the talk this past week has been the return of Andy Pettitte and what moves Joe Giradi will make with his over stocked pitching staff. This latest Chamberlain injury could make his decision a little easier. In my last blog that featured the return of Andy Pettitte, I asked who would be the odd man out ? and how his return would effect the pitching staff. Now with the Joba effect the Yankees are going to need a power right arm out of the bullpen. Do they look to the farm system to fill Chamberlain's spot ? They could consider Adam Warren who's pitched well this spring. Warren has made four appearances so far and has a record of 0-0 with an ERA of 1.93 in 9.1 innings. In those innings he's given up eight hits, one walk, struck out five, and has one save with a WHIP of 0.96. Some feel Warren wasn't battling for a spot on the staff but his latest outing may have the Yankees thinking differently. On Thursday the 25 year old 6' 2 215 pounder from Alabama started against a potential Opening Day Red Sox lineup and threw four scoreless innings allowing two hits, no walks, while striking out three. I don't know if he'll get a spot with the big club but he definitely has shown them what he can do.
The most likely candidate to move to the bullpen is Phil Hughes. Hughes has pitched well this spring. He has a record of 0-1 with an ERA of 2.03 in 13.1 innings. He has given up eleven hits, one homerun, and two walks. He has struck out eight, opponents are hitting .220 off him and he has a WHIP of 0.98. Even though he's pitched fine, out of the seven battling for a starting spot he's the only one that has pitched out of the pen before. We all remember the 2009 season he had out of the bullpen to help the Yankees win the World Series. The only problem is what effect the move could have on him mentally. The move could shatter his confidence. Here we go again with the starter relief pitcher juggling act.
It's likely Giradi will move him to the bullpen for some right handed relief. He probably will keep Freddy Garcia there too, as the long man out of the pen and go with Hiroki Kuroda in the rotation. I'm sorry but I didn't like the signing of Kuroda when it happened and I still don't ! He's pitched ok as of late but his ERA is over 3.00....3.07 to be exact but who's counting. Opponents are hitting .246 off him and their mostly minor leaguers ! I just don't think he's cut out for the big bats of the American League East.
Out of the seven battling for five spots, this is how I would do it. My starters would be Sabathia, Nova, Pineda, Hughes, and Pettitte. Keep Garcia in the bullpen. He could be the " jack of all trades" there. He could pitch long relief and even spot start if need be. As for Kuroda, sayonara !! Buy him out and send him packing. It's probably going to happen anyway so why not do it now before the season starts. Go out and find a righty power arm or give one of the kids a shot. I know they won't do it now because their going to give him a chance and see what happens. Cashman signed him and Giradi likes him so I've got to live with it ! Unlike other teams that need pitching, having to many is a nice problem to have. But like I always say you can never have to much pitching.