Phil Hughes: Should the New York Yankees Let Him Pitch?
The Yankees apparently have a "plan" for Phil Hughes that will take effect in the coming months, allowing him to stay within his pitching limits this season, in other words the Joba Rules turned Hughes Rules.
Joe Girardi and Dave Eiland have it set up so that they could give Hughes an extra two weeks of days off over the next two months.
The Yanks do have four scheduled days off in June, and an additional five off in July. Add the All-Star break on top of that, then yes, the Yankees plan does schedule out correctly.
That is, of course, if everything is smooth sailing in the rotation and with the team in general from here on out. But any person who has been around baseball will tell you "smooth sailing" is just a dream to Managers and GM's.
To this point in the season Phil Hughes has been one of the most reliable pitchers in the rotation, and the Yanks are going to need him to continue to be strong every time out if they want to make the playoffs this year.
And who's to say another starter won't get hurt? Andy Pettitte has been great, but he is 37 years old. AJ Burnett has had shoulder trouble in the past, and Javy Vazquez is not that young himself. Whatever the case may be, the Yankees would need Hughes more than ever if one of the other starters missed time.
Tweaking his scheduled starts could potentially disrupt his rythm that he has finally found this year, so why would you try and fix something that's not broke?
This plan is similar to the Joba Rules, and we all know how those turned out. But a similar plan was instituted by the Detroit Tigers last year with their young pitcher Rick Porcello that seemed to work.
Granted, Porcello did pitch better after his pitching plan, going 6-3 with a 3.76 ERA after the All-Star break, compared to 8-6 with a 4.14 ERA before the break. But you did notice the Tigers were not in the playoffs last year, after their collapse in the second half of the season.
The Yankees have a lot more resources at their disposal than the Tigers had, and are a better team, but one can only wonder if Porcello had pitched more games last season. Maybe the Tigers would have won the division, instead of losing a tie-breaker, if they could have had just one more win.
Phil Hughes is young at just 23 years old, but has a substantial amount of pitching experience under his belt, certainly more than Porcello had when he made his debut last season.
So just let him pitch.
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