Saturday, January 12, 2008

Joba Rules '08: Start Season In Pen?

The Yankees need to watch Joba Chamberlain's innings totals next season and one solution has become feasible, start the season with Joba in the bullpen.

According to the Daily News' Anthony McCarron, New York may use such an avenue to protect Chamberlain:

The Yankees envision Joba Chamberlain as a starter and they are eager to see what his blazing fastball and electric slider can do as part of their rotation. But the Bombers also are concerned about how many innings the 22-year-old will throw next season, so Chamberlain may start the year in the bullpen.

"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.

This may be the most conceivable technique to limit Joba's innings while allowing him to spend the majority of the season pitching in the rotation.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press caught up with Phil Hughes who is in Tampa beginning his workouts. Here's what Hughes had to say on the ongoing trade rumors involving his name:
"I try to avoid the rumors the best I can, but you eventually hear it from friends [and] family," Hughes told The Associated Press in Tampa, Fla. "You never want to hear your name out there ... at least it's good to know that other teams think highly of you. I wouldn't say [it's been a] tough winter, but definitely an interesting one."
"I actually heard my name out there for the first time from my dad," Hughes said. "Then I just called my agent to see if there's anything to it, and found there was. That's the exact of the contact I've had."

Hughes is focused on the one thing he can control, preparing for the 2008 season. He started a throwing program four weeks ago.

"I want to get on a mound before spring training starts, and maybe get four or five bullpens in," Hughes said. "Physically, everything is good."

Two other pitching prospects, Humberto Sanchez and Andrew Brackman, are taking part in throwing programs after elbow ligament replacement surgery last year.

Sanchez, one of three pitchers obtained from Detroit for outfielder Gary Sheffield, expects to throw off a mound by late next month.

"It's going well," Sanchez said. "So far, so good. We're on the right track. Hopefully there are no setbacks."

As usual, the kid says all the right things. It will be interesting to see the progress Sanchez and Brackman can make over the next 12 months.

McNamee After Rocket's Behind

In other news, Brian McNamee is trying to whip Roger Clemens' ass, literally.

McNamee contends Clemens developed an abscess on his buttocks in 1998 and implied it came from frequent needle use. The Toronto Blue Jays staff disputed McNamee's claims, saying they "did not recall Clemens having an abscess."

This whole thing is really getting down-in-the-dumps dirty. And that's not metaphorical, this is just some foul garbage.

Bud Selig needs to alter Major League Baseball's advertising slogan and it should read like this:
MLB: Giving You Steroids & Santana 24 Hours A Day!

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