In an interview yesterday with WFAN’s Ed Coleman and Yankee beat reporter Sweeney Murti, Yankee pitching Coach Dave Eiland cleared up some of the confusion surrounding the restrictions that will be placed on Phil Hughes this season. I transcribed that portion of the interview, which can be listened to in it’s entirety here. He said:

Sweeney Murti-“Joba made 31 starts last year, and a lot has been made in the previous two years about the restrictions on him, and they’re gone now. But Hughes is going to be on some sort of innings limit this year as well. So should he be the guy who ends up in the rotation? You’re going to be dealing with things in that regard, too. First part of it Dave, does having the training wheels off for Joba him any sort of advantage or leg up? Or is everybody even?”

Eiland-“No, everybody’s even. There’s no clear favorite. There’s nobody that’s out in front right now. Were going to put the best guy in the that spot that gives us the best chance to win every 5 days. Whether it’s Joba with no restrictions or whether it’s Phil with some restrictions. But you’ve got to remember, Joba had restrictions because he never had a full season in the professional Baseball as a Starter. Phil Hughes has had several minor league seasons as a Starter. So there’s going to be restrictions, but they’re not going to be as strenuous as Joba. And I’ll just leave it at that, right there. There’s restrictions, and were on the side of caution with all our guys. Whether it’s the number 1 guy to the 12th guy in the bullpen. Were not going to abuse anybody or put anyone’s career in jeopardy.”

With that being said, here’s Phil’s innings totals over the course of his 5 full seasons in professional Baseball (courtesy of the Baseball Cube):

2005-86.1 IP

2006-146 IP

2007-110.1 IP

2008-99.2 IP (includes 30 IP in AFL)


I think it’s safe to say the Yankee will have no issue letting him match his previous innings high, which came as a 20 year old in 2006. That would put him around 150 for the season, and as a 5th starter who will skip some starts with off days and the All Star break, that should be fine. Averaging 6 IP per start it puts him at 25 outings for the year. So the competition for the #5 spot in the rotation may be a real one after all.

12 Responses to “Dave Eiland-‘Hughes Rules’ not like Joba’s”

  1. Hughes has also taken a guess himself about his innings limit saying, “Just a guess, I’d assume it’d be around 175-180 innings, but that’s pure speculation,” said Hughes, who threw 86 innings last season before the playoffs. “I haven’t been told. With any young guy, there is going to be some innings consideration.”

    I still kind of think Joba should be the 5th starter since he has no restrictions, but I guess it is more of a competition than originally thought.  (Quote)

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  2. With 129.2 innings pitched as recently as 2008, wouldn’t the organization be comfortable with a ceiling in the range of 160-170 innings?  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    Jamal, buddy, you misunderstood. The 99.2 in 2008 included the 30 from the AFL. He had 69.2 that year between Scranton and the MLB club.  (Quote)

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    JD Reply:

    Yes, but Jamal’s guess seems about right. 160-170  (Quote)

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    Jamal G. Reply:

    Yeah, I totally did. Whoops.  (Quote)

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  3. How quickly everyone forgets how pivotal Hughes was out of the bullpen for us last year.

    I dont understand why the Yanks even consider starting the season with Phil as the #5. We are not struggling to find a fifth starter and with the way our staff and lineup projects out, we could even survive with throwing Gaudin out there once every 5 games.

    Knock on wood, if there happened to be an injury to anyone in the staff I think Phil could convert back to a starter relatively seamlessly. Personally I look forward to watching Hughes’ fastball and poise in the 8th inning this year, and who knows, maybe eventually closing games down the road.  (Quote)

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  4. “That would put him around 150 for the season, and as a 5th starter who will skip some starts with off days and the All Star break, that should be fine.”

    As I recall, Joba’s limit was about the same last year, and look at what a disaster that was! I don’t see a real competition in Spring Training. Joba will get 2 months to show he’s ML starting material. If not, Hughes will transition back the the starting rotation.  (Quote)

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  5. Whether it is Hughes or Joba, I think that who ever is not the fifth starter will go back to the pen and be groomed to be Mo’s successor as the closer.  (Quote)

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  6. Hughes pitched a post season game in 06 so you can add another 5+ innings.  (Quote)

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