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By Dustin Racioppi
5/27/09

Well it was nice to see that $82 million pitcher A.J. Burnett could get a win in May. He tossed six scoreless innings and let up only three hits against Texas Wednesday night — a start reminiscent of CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes' most recent outings. 

Another Yankees starter had a pretty good night against Texas, too — Chien Ming-Wang. Except Wang came in relief for two innings of mop up. 

Eventually Wang is going to have to return to where he belongs, which is starting every fifth day behind Sabathia. And then there's Andy Pettite. So now we have to talk about Joba, because the Yankees are not going to go to a six-man rotation. 

Of course, just as the Yankees have done with their pitching staff the last two years, they'll likely make some irrational move and put Phil Hughes in the bullpen or send him back to the minors when Wang is ready to regain his rotation spot. They'll do that so Baby Joba can stay a starter where they believe he belongs. Problem is, he doesn't belong there and most people believe that. 

When Joba was coming in for the eighth inning, he was electric, unhittable, practically a folk hero. Batters feared him and that fist pump was actually worth something. But in the last year the Yankees have castrated Joba, who not only has lost energy, but he's proven so far to be nothing more than an average starter. He throws too many pitches, gives up too many runs and rarely can make it past the fifth inning. The dominance he once had is non-existent in the starter role. 

The Yankees have to consider getting him back to the bullpen this year, especially with the Scranton Wilkes-Barre squad currently occupying the pen. Not to mention that the Yanks do have Joba on an innings count this year, somewhere around 150. So even if he was an effective pitcher this year, he wouldn't even be able to play into serious September/October baseball. Then what? 

We've also got to think about Phil Hughes. How many times are the Yankees going to call him up and send him down? I think it's time to bite the bullet and leave him where he is. Granted, he's shown flashes of greatness in between his flashes of atrocity when he can't get out of the second inning. He'll work it out. And soon enough, so will Wang and you'll have six starters trying to fill five spots. 

Who would you want in the bullpen? I'll take Joba. 




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