Bring Back The Joba Rules

Phil Hughes became a reliever back at the start of June.  Since then, he has pitched a total of 8.2 innings out of the pen.  So, the Yankees have basically wasted one of the best arms in their organization and now it is unreasonable to expect him to be able to start again without building up his arm.

The Yankees have a tough balancing act with Hughes in 2009.  Clearly, he is going to be a starter at some point, but the Yankees would be wasting him in Scranton right now.  So, the goal for 2009 with Hughes should be utilizing him to help win now while getting him enough innings to be a part of the rotation in 2010.  

Hughes has about 63 innings under his belt in 2009, the Yankees need to get him up well past 100 this year to safely use him as a starter next year.  That’s where the Joba Rules come in and the Yankees need to think back to 2007, when they took a power starter and made him a reliever.

To refresh your memory, the rules were Joba could pitch one or two innings, but he was not allowed back-to-back appearances and he got a day of rest for every inning he pitched.  So, use him for one inning and he was off the next day.  Use him for two and he got two days of rest.  Over the last 50 games of the season, Joba pitched 24 innings.

Putting in the Joba rules for Hughes would hopefully make Girardi actually use him.  Hughes should be pitching everyother day at this point because he is good and he needs the innings.  Use those rules until August, about the same time in games that the Yankees did with Joba.  (Remember at the end of September 2007, the rules changed and Joba was allowed to be used as needed)  The Yankees could then enter the stretch with Hughes deployed like Joba in the 2007 playoffs (without the midges) or Mariano in 1996.

Either that or get him back to Scranton and pitching every fifth day.  Having him sit idle in the bullpen is just a waste of an asset.