All puns aside, the Yankee bullpen has been absolutely stellar since the addition of Phil Hughes, back in the first week of June.
I think the performances speak for themselves and answer the question of was Hughes ready for action out of the 'pen, and do the Yankees need to add another arm to the bullpen?
Similar to the way the return of Alex Rodriguez sparked life in the Yankee lineup, the addition of Hughes to the bullpen has really been the catalyst to the Yankee bullpen's solid work.
Once called atrocious and terrible, the Yankee bullpen is outperforming its starters in recent outings and giving fans something to cheer about.
As I previously mentioned, Hughes has been as close to perfect as you can get from a guy who was demoted from starter to the bullpen.
I say this because some may say that sending a guy to the bullpen may "hurt his confidence" (see Chien-Ming Wang).
Hughes has been nothing but confident as of late, and has instilled the confidence in Yankee fans that he is able to get the job done.
Since June 8, Hughes' first action out of the bullpen, he has gone 8.2 innings, only giving up two runs, off of one hit from Kevin Youkilis.
In that span, Hughes has sat down 12 batters on strikes and has an ERA of 2.08, sending his total season ERA in the right direction, down.
Hughes has answered all questions about his readiness to pitch when called upon.
He is able to do so because he treats any situation he is given with optimism, and relies on his talent to get the job done.
Hughes said he was willing to do anything the Yankees need him to do, in order to get a win, when placed into the bullpen after Chien Ming Wang's return to the role of starter.
The Yankees need homegrown, hard-working, appreciative players, like Hughes, who embody a sense of pride in their pitching, no matter if it is one pitch out of the bullpen, or a start.
Hughes deserves credit for dealing with his new role like a true player dedicated to helping his club win.
Since the beginning of June, another Yankee reliever has been praiseworthy.
Phil Coke, once thought to fade away like Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez, has proved his worth to the Yankee organization.
The last time Coke gave up a run out of the bullpen was May 31, against the Indians.
Since that game, Coke has pitched relief gem after relief gem when he is called upon, only giving up three hits in 8.2 innings pitched.
Coke has also fanned 10 batters and walked just three.
The production from the team of Hughes and Coke out of the bullpen has been just what the Yankees needed in tight game situations.
The game on Saturday night against the Marlins was another prime example of the work these guys do when called upon.
The Yankee bullpen has seen some great stuff from Alfredo Aceves, and the recent return of Brian Bruney rounds out a bullpen that could rival some of the best in the American league right now.
It leaves me asking the final question, in the reliever sense: Joba who?
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