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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Yankees to monitor innings for the Big 3

With the threat of the Yankees young starters (Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy) reaching their innings caps, the Yankees have decided to monitor their total innings pitched.

From Kat O'Brien:

The plan is for the three to compete for two spots in the starting rotation in spring training, with Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina likely to fill the other three rotation slots. But not one of the young trio was at or near the 200-inning mark in 2007. That means it will require careful watch to keep them in the rotation (if they earn it) without raising their innings an alarming amount.

"All of our players will have [innings] objectives," general manager Brian Cashman said by phone Friday. (Newsday)
This obviously means Chamberlain will head to the bullpen, if there are only two spots available and this is the direction the Yankees want to head in. He is the only one of the three with bullpen experience. Kennedy pitched the most innings last season (165 1/3 innings in the Majors and Minors combined).

Chamberlain has said he'd like to start, and he pitched in 136 total innings last season. If he was a full-time starter, he'd likely approach 200 innings, so I could see why that would concern the Yankees.

I don't think it would be the end of the world if Chamberlain has to spend a month or two in the bullpen at the beginning of the season. I still think he'll end up being a starter eventually, and if they ease him into the rotation gradually, he'll succeed.


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