Phil Hughes, last season’s long reliever in the bullpen, was named the Yankees fifth starter Thursday beating out Joba Chamberlain and others for the coveted last spot in the Yankee rotation. Hughes will most likely have an innings limit this year, much like Joba had last year. Some writers are speculating the limit could be around 170 innings, meaning we should see Joba or others make some starts toward the end of the season.
Hughes also beat out Sergio Mitre, Alfredo Aceves and Chad Gaudin. I forecast Mitre to be sent to AAA to stay warm as an injury replacement starter and Aceves back in the Yankee bullpen. Gaudin was released outright this week after not earning the spot in the rotation and the Yankees felt paying him $2.95 million to pitch in Scranton was too much. Since his contract was not guaranteed, it was a smart decision for the Yankees and I could definitly see Gaudin catching on strong elsewhere.
One other notable pitching story comes from Boston, the Red Sox manager Terry Francona confirmed that Daisuke Matsuzaka will not be ready to pitch for the Sox until a couple weeks into the season. However, Tim Wakefield, the aging knuckleballer has most definitely earned his spot in the rotation. Wakefield will apparently pitch until he gets so old his arm falls off.