Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fight for the 5th spot begins soon

Joba Chamberlain is gunning for the fifth spot in the New York Yankees rotation, planning to get to Tampa weeks before the official start of spring training to prepare. It's going to be a helluva battle between Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, with Alfredo Aceves, Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin in the mix.

But mainly it's a fight between the two home-grown Yankees. In a sense, Joba has an edge going into this season because he will no longer have to contend with the Yankees' attempts to limit his innings. The constantly evolving plan to protect Joba did more harm than good, messing with his rhythm and head and contributing to his struggles during the last two months of the 2009 season.

After throwing only 86 innings last year, Hughes will be facing strict restrictions, which will likely play into the equation when Joe Girardi & Co. choose a fifth starter. Hughes showed great promise as Mariano Rivera's set-up man in the regular season, but stumbled badly in the playoffs. On the other hand, Joba has shown more confidence and fire coming out of the bullpen, another factor to consider.

We'll see who ends up on top (or rather at the bottom of the rotation). Let the battle begin!

Thanks to BubbaFan via en.Wikipedia for the photo.

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