On Second Thought, Alfredo Aceves to the Rotation Is the Right Move

July 7, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

When Chien-Ming Wang was placed on the disabled list last week, I just assumed that Phil Hughes would come out of the bullpen to take his spot in the rotation. 

But Manager Joe Girardi quickly shot that idea down and hinted that the job would go to Alfredo Aceves or Triple-A pitcher Sergio Mitre.

I didn’t understand why the Yankees wouldn’t just hand the ball to Hughes (being that it appears Wang will be out for probably at least a month, and they needed a stable starter at the back of the rotation), but then I looked at the numbers.

Aceves made four starts for New York last September and three of them were excellent.  He gave up one run in seven innings against the Angels, two runs in six frames versus the White Sox, and no runs in six innings against the Orioles before surrendering four runs in four frames at Boston.

In all, the Yankees were undefeated in Aceves’ four starts as he went 1-0 with a 2.74 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.

The current reliever is 5-1 with a 2.02 ERA in 21 appearances out of the bullpen this season, and even picked up his first career save during a stellar four-inning, one-hit outing on Sunday.

But Aceves has always been a starter.

Eighty-five of his 88 games at the minor league level were starts.  He was 38-24 with a 3.76 ERA in five seasons there.

Girardi said Aceves will be on a 65-pitch limit on Thursday afternoon against the Minnesota Twins, which means Hughes will probably come out of the bullpen at some point in that game.

And that’s exactly where he should be right now.  Hughes will most likely be in the rotation in the future, but this season he belongs in the pen. 

Hughes was once again mediocre in seven starts in April and May, posting a 5.45 ERA before being sent to the bullpen when Wang returned from his first stint on the DL.

But the 23-year-old has thrived in relief, surrendering just two runs and nine base runners, while striking out 16 in 14.2 innings of work.  But he hasn’t thrown more than 27 pitches in an outing since Jun. 10, and so he doesn’t have the arm strength to return to the rotation right now.

Mitre does, going 2-1 with a 3.65 ERA in five starts at Scranton this year, but his major league stats aren’t as good as those possessed by Aceves.

Mitre last pitched in the majors for Florida in 2007, when he went 5-8 with a 4.65 ERA.  In five big league seasons, he’s just 10-23 with a 5.36.

So I believe Aceves is the answer for the near future.

Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison.

Jordan Schwartz is Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees Community Leader. His book “Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man” is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.

Jordan can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.

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