Yankees Rumors & News
This entry was posted on Saturday, January 12th, 2008 at 4:22 pm and is filed under Baseball, Yankees Rumors & News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

dont-feed-joba.jpgSince Joba Chamberlain‘s meteoric rise through the organization’s depth chart, the Yankees and their fans have debated internally where the 22-year-old dynamo is best suited to pitch in 2008 – in the starting rotation or back in the bullpen. It appeared that the decision had been made, with Hank Steinbrenner in particular emphatically stating that Joba would be used as a starter next season. However nothing in New York is ever that simple, and not surprisingly, with just over a month to go before pitchers and catchers report, the debate has been given new legs.

According to Anthony McCarron in today’s Daily News, as a young prospect Joba remains on a strict innings and pitch count, and thus could begin the year in the bullpen in order to limit his workload. Via the Daily News:

“We’re going to prepare him as a starter and we see him as a starter,” Yankee GM Brian Cashman said yesterday. “But we have an innings limit that he won’t exceed. How we manage the innings limit remains to be seen. The plan is to have him start, but there are a number of scenarios that we’ll review.”

Cashman refused to reveal Chamberlain’s innings limit. Asked if Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy have limits as well, Cashman said, “We’ll manage innings limits on everyone who’s got them.”

Cashman first talked about using Chamberlain in the bullpen next season during an appearance on the YES Network on Thursday.

I had wondered about the restrictions on Joba’s workload going into this season, so this news isn’t entirely surprising. However it’s curious to me why the topic hasn’t been broached earlier.

Joba threw 118.2 innings as a 19-year-old at Nebraska, 89.1 innings the following season, and 112.1 innings last season while splitting time between the minors and majors. Using Phil Hughes‘ minor league career as a barometer, you would figure the Yanks would like to limit Joba to roughly 150 IP in 2008. That would put him on track for a season fairly comparable to Mike Mussina‘s 2007 in which the veteran pitcher tossed 152.0 innings through 27 starts and 1 relief appearance.

However, the question then becomes, what sort of leash would Joba have during the postseason? It’s a delicate scenario for sure.

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