42° Good Afternoon
42° Good Afternoon

The Yankees' starting pitching dilemma

Greetings from Fenway Park. It's good to be here after a nearly four-month hiatus.

The big item of discussion here is what the Yankees will do, moving forward with their starting rotation. Joe Girardi didn't provide any answers, but he did offer some clues. 

First of all, Phil Hughes will be placed in the bullpen for this weekend, Girardi said, explaining that by speaking of the Red Sox's ferocious offense and the way games here often turn into slugfests. There's some truth to that, obviously, but I think it provides a nice cover story to keep all of the balls in the air.

If Hughes pitches Sunday night in relief of Freddy Garcia, for instance, then he'd be scratched from his Tuesday start, and the Yankees could cconsequently deploy a five-man rotation using Ivan Nova as Hughes' replacement. In that turn, they could monitor both Nova (although really, he's done so little wrong lately that it wouldn't be right to drop him based on one poor outing) and A.J. Burnett.

Let's say Burnett has another terrible start. Then at that point, they can try the old, "We're going to let A.J. skip a turn with Larry Rothschild." And boom, you've solved the problem for another time through.

Also very important in this equation: The Yankees desperately want to figure out a way to keep Bartolo Colon healthy into October, and while you might not want to start Freddy Garcia in October because of his underwhelming stuff, they'd at least like to have him as an option. Both surprisingly good veterans benefit from extra rest.

If the only impediment to utilizing a six-man rotation is that CC Sabathia prefers to pitch on normal rest, that's not good enough. The team can sit guys out, as in the Burnett example above, and there's something to be said for giving Sabathia some extra time with the understanding that he'll be looked to lead the club again in October.

So my column for tomorrow, at this point, is to advocate for the six-man rotation. What do you think?

--Have a great night.


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