Who gets the call to the bullpen when Andy returns?
Andy Pettitte will take his rightful place on the mound on Sunday for the first time in New York Yankees pinstripes since he retired after the 2010 season. Fans are rejoicing, the rotation is heaving a long sigh and the bullpen will probably be sad that they won’t have to come in like they used to just to clean a mess. Although the rotation will breathe a sigh of relief, there will be a slight issue. Someone will have to get out of the rotation to make room for Andy Pettitte.
So far in the Yankees rotation, there are 3 guys that the Yankees cannot move anywhere: CC Sabathia (the ace), Hiroki Kuroda & Ivan Nova. That leaves 2 pitchers in the rotation that can be moved: David Phelps & Phil Hughes. Phelps was originally put in the rotation to get a highly defective Freddy Garcia out of the rotation and into the bullpen while Phil Hughes has had some shaky starts in the beginning of the year while calming it down his last 2 starts (the latter one receiving the win). What do I believe the Yankees should do when Pettitte returns?
For one, I would say to move David Phelps back to the bullpen. I have nothing against Phelps, as a matter of fact, I really like him. It’s just the fact that Phelps isn’t really stretched out to be in the rotation at the moment. In his start vs. Kansas City, he was already at 80 pitches by the time he reached the 4th inning. Phelps’s stuff is great, and we’ve seen him mow down dangerous hitters in potent lineups such as Detroit and Boston, but he is really more of the long-man type of pitcher in case other pitchers in the starting rotation get into trouble. He has the knack of stopping the bleeding as long as he can which gives the Yankees offense a chance to come back and the big guys in the bullpen to be used.
In Phil Hughes’s case, I would leave him where he is. I know, your thinking that I’m crazy but in reality, I think Hughes should stay because of the work he has done. His outing vs. Kansas City was one of the best outings Hughes had all year. Although he gave up a HR to end his outing, he didn’t use the cutter and had the mindset that he was a reliever. Apparently having the mindset that he was a reliever really helped him since he was able to get ahead hitters. The only thing Hughes can work on at this point is pitch count. He can’t go 115 pitches in 6/7 innings in every outing. He’s not CC.
I want to know what you guys would do when Andy comes back. Who would you send to the bullpen?