Alfredo Aceves will replace Chien-Ming Wang in the rotation on Thursday. The options were, likely, three: Aceves, Phil Hughes, or Sergio Mitre. While Mitre has looked good and it’s always exciting to give a new face a try, if you look at his baseball-reference page, he hasn’t exactly been lights out in the past.
Hughes from a talent standpoint would be the best call, but for whatever reason Girardi has refused to use him for more than 1 inning, therefore starting him would be dangerous. Aceves has been solid all year and recently pitched 4 innings of relief, so his arm is stretched out enough that 5 or 6 innings wouldn’t be completely unreasonable if he’s efficient. You can probably expect that Hughes will also get some work in that game though.
It’s easy to fall in love with Aceves as a bullpen piece, but this is exactly why having a solid longman is so valuable. Aceves is the most talented pitcher they could reasonably put out there, and as we’ve been over countless times, you want your best pitchers starting. If all goes well, Aceves will be back in the ‘pen in a couple weeks once Wang rehabs.
This would be a very difficult situation if the Yankee bullpen was still a mess, but you have to credit Girardi with getting things together (primarily thanks to Hughes and Coke) despite Bruney’s relative ineffectiveness since his return. If Bruney can shake the rust off, the Yankee bullpen should be formidable.