The New York Yankees have CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, Freddy Garcia and now Andy Pettitte, which leaves them with the same problem that trading AJ Burnett was supposed to solve, seven starters for five rotation spots.
It is tough to complain about being overloaded with starting pitching especially after the Yankees had the opposite issue last spring, but it will be a tough decision for skipper Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
1) Obviously Sabathia, who Girardi confirmed would be opening the season at the dumpy Trop vs. the Rays.
2) Kuroda was named the team’s #2 from the get-go.
3) Pettitte has a rotation spot waiting for him, and that makes complete sense. It was nice to hear that Pettitte hit 94 mph in a bullpen session, but not that surprising. Before he hung up his mitt, the first time, the Southpaw was having a career year in 2010, finishing 11-3 in 21 starts, posting a 3.28 ERA and holding opposing bats to a .256 average.
And fans might even get to see Pettitte in a spring game, as ESPN reported that Girardi has not ruled it out as a possibility yet. Rothschild has already had Pettitte throw live BP so things are moving right along in his comeback. And after speaking to many Yankee fans, Pettitte will be welcomed in the Bronx with open arms.
FOUR FOR TWO:
So, this leaves Hughes, Nova, Pineda and Garcia.
Pettitte’s un-retirement does give the Yankees about a month to give the remaining four a real test run, as the veteran Southpaw said he is aiming for May 1st but knowing Girardi’s usual paranoia that means more like mid-May.
Regardless, in my opinion Spring Training stats don’t mean that much for two reasons.
1)If the rotation were based on spring stats Sabathia wouldn’t be a lock right now, enough said.
2) Last spring Hughes was a total train wreck and the Yankees still gave him three regular season starts to redeem himself, which resulted in six innings and a 13.94 ERA.
So, the question of starting the season with a six-man rotation was being thrown around by obviously a bunch of morons. I say morons because last season when Girardi went with six starters it completely through Sabathia for a loop and that is unacceptable. I thought Girardi let it go on way too long last season and obviously the lesson was learned because when asked the skipper told Bryan Hoch from MLB.com, “I should not say never, but no, no, no.”
If only it were as easy as saying let the boys pitch when the regular season starts, but that would entail a six-man rotation and not exactly the ideal way to get Sabathia’s season going.
The media can’t let go of the idea of Pineda being sent down to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre but there was no way of that happening even if he hadn’t clocked 94-95 mph in his last start, but he did so that now is totally absurd.
Hughes is having a good spring but after last year, he cannot be trusted till he makes a handful of quality starts that count. But the solid spring should earn Hughes a starting spot on Opening Day to show that it is no fluke.
And that leaves Nova and Garcia.
In my opinion either Garcia goes to the bullpen or Nova heads to Scranton. Nova needs to keep making regular starts but he was a 14-game winner last season making this idea hard to swallow.
So, please tell me…WHAT YOU WOULD DO IF YOU WERE GIRARDI AND ROTHSCHILD?