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):
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.