So Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes both face somewhat similar situations: they both mean a lot to the Yankees moving forward and are rehabbing from injury. So what to do with them?
The Yankees have opted to leave Hughes in the minors for now and pitch Pavano, which Pete Abe questions:
Is anybody else surprised that the Yankees are using Carl Pavano tomorrow? Wouldn’t it benefit the long-term interests of the organization to give major-league innings to Phil Hughes instead of a player they can’t wait to get rid of?
It appears the plan with Joba is to rehab him and let him start a couple games at the major league level in September.
With the Yankees clearly not making the playoffs, it doesn’t make any sense to push Joba any further in an effort for game action. Let him work on the side in a controlled setting, let his arm rest, and let him be healthy for next season. With the current state of the team, risk dramatically outweighs reward.
The thing is, these are two very different pitchers. I agree with what Pete says, only apply it to Joba. Joba has already proven he can dominate every level, including the majors. He needs major league experience to improve his consistency (not to sound like Joe Morgan). He also needs more innings this year so that he can pitch all next season as a starter. So it makes sense that as long as his injury isn’t serious (and everything I’ve read said it isn’t) to run him out there for a couple major league starts.
However, Hughes is different because he has struggled at the Major League level and in fact struggled in his last start at AAA. Both Hughes and Kennedy have been rushed through the system quicker than the Yankees really wanted them to be. I don’t think the Yankees want to make that mistake again, especially with Hughes. And with Pavano capable of finally making a start, it makes sense to run him out there at least once.
All this is about next year. But what applies to one young starter doesn’t necessarily apply to the other.