Friday, June 5, 2009

First to Third: You Can't Have Too Much Pitching (Just Ask Hal)

Once upon a time... 2003 actually... George Steinbrenner graced the cover of Sports Illustrated's baseball preview issue along with five of his six starting pitchers (David Wells refused to participate in the photo shoot) proudly proclaiming you can't have too much pitching.

Six years later, only one of the pitchers pictured are on the Yankees (Andy Pettitte) and George has faded into the background of team operations. The same mantra of never having enough pitching can be applied to the 2009 Yankees, with Hal Steinbrenner taking George's place. Yesterday, Chien-Ming Wang made his first start since being activated from the disabled list after spending some time in the bullpen. Phil Hughes was sent to the pen as the Yankees continue to deal with their abundance of starting pitching.

The fact is, while pitching depth is nice, finding enough innings for six starters is a huge problem. Over a season, pitchers build arm strength so they can reach the magical 200 innings pitcher mark. By keeping one starter in the pen, the Yankees are doing that starter a disservice - especially a young guy like Hughes - by using him in bursts, often sporadically. If Wang pitches effectively, Hughes should be sent down to AAA where he can continue starting and eating innings.

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