If you were to ask New York Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland who he thinks will win the 5th spot in the starting rotation this season, you won’t find he doesn’t have much to say. Eiland recently spoke with the Daily News about the upcoming battle for the Yankees final spot in the pitching rotation.
The front four of the Yankees rotation is pretty much set. C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and recently acquired Javier Vasquez will hold the front four spots in the rotation. As for what Eiland had to say about the 5th spot?
“For me to say who’s the clear favorite — right now, I can’t do that,” Eiland said, according to the Daily News. “Time will tell. We have interesting guys, and this is going to be fun to watch. Competition brings out the best in guys, and we’ll see who pulls ahead of the pack.”
While Joba Chamberlain appears to be the front runner for the position, the Yankees pitching coach made it clear that the training wheels are off. There are no more Joba rules. The man who wins the 5th spot will be expected to throw 200 innings.
Competing for the spot against Chamberlain will be Phil Hughes, Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre. When one really breaks down the competition, it’s clear there are two men competing for the job in the eyes of the fans: Hughes and Chamberlain. Hughes found success in the bullpen in 2009, but faltered in the playoffs. With neither Hughes or Chamberlain in the playoff rotation, it was Chamberlain who earned Girardi’s trust. He pitched in crucial innings for Girardi including the World Series clinching Game 6.
In the end, it’s Joe Girardi and company who will decide Hughes and Chamberlain’s fate. With no more Joba rules, can Joba take the reigns on his career and earn his spot in the rotation or will Phil Hughes, despite pitching significantly less innings in 2009, steal Chamberlain’s thunder. According to Eiland, competition should bring out the best in everyone…so may the best man win.