NEW YORK (WPIX)—The Yankees debate over who will be in their Starting Rotation ended when Pineda went to the 15 Day-DL. Who do you think would have been cut if the injury did not occur and what will happen when Pineda's healthy? Or when Andy Pettite is deemed ready to pitch? John K., Bronx N.Y
Well John, they say that everything has a way of working itself out and it could not be truer for manager Joe Girardi. He openly admitted that sending one of the six competing starters down to the Minors would be the hardest decision of his managerial career so far. Pineda's injury helps save face for Girardi and gives Pineda time to do rehab/minor league starts which, after a spring training where we saw Pineda's fastball be clocked much slower than last year, might be beneficial to the 6'7" hurler.
Ivan Nova, despite having a phenomenal rookie season last year, was going to break camp with the minor league squad because he had the rockiest spring training of the competitors. Pineda was the product of a huge trade for the Bronx Bombers and I am sure that the Yankee Brass knew that their fans did not want to see their prized offseason acquisition start in the minors. Phil Hughes had an ERA just over 2 so his spot seemed pretty secured and it was unlikely that veteran Freddy Garcia would have accepted a minor league assignment if he was deemed unfit for the rotation.
When Pineda is healthy again, he will definitely get some starts at the major league level and will probably bump out whichever pitcher, besides Sabathia or Kuroda, who is doing the poorest. The "survivor" mentality will only continue once Yankee legend Andy Pettite is cleared to pitch and another struggling starting pitcher will be sent down to the minors or the bullpen. This competition should only bring out the best in the Yankees pitchers as every one of their starts will hold weight as to whether or not they should remain in the rotation.
Why didn't the Bronx Bombers look into ex-Yankees and fan favorites Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui this past off-season to fill the DH slot? Raul Ibanez has no connection to the team and had a horrible Spring Training. Scott W., Trenton N.J
Let's be clear here: Ibanez is a quality hitter. The solid veteran has smacked 20 or more homers each season since 2005 and has driven in over 100 runs three times over that span. The Yankees also really liked that he could play solid defense in the outfield, which they felt Matsui or Damon could not bring to the table.
Yes Ibanez has struggled at the plate (.157 batting average) this spring training, but he has shown signs of power as he has smacked three home runs this spring and was robbed of a fourth one by Atlanta outfielder Jayson Heyward. Obviously spring training is important, but it is not the be-all end-all of the season. If that were the case, the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics would be playing in the American league Championship Series right now. If Ibanez's struggles continue into the season, than another powerful bat in Andruw Jones will be there to replace him.
Before the first pitch of the season is thrown, I want to know your prediction: Will the Yankees win the World Series this year? Nick A., Manhattan, N.Y
Oh, Nick it is almost impossible to predict who will win the World Series. Just think of last year. If you told someone in early September that you thought the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves were not going to make the playoffs they would think you might be a little off your rocker. If you go on to say that the St. Louis Cardinals, who barely scraped into the playoffs, would win the Fall Classic, then you would definitely be off your rocker. However, this is sports; craziness happens, upsets happen, and the favorites have as much a chance to win it all as the Cinderella's.
That being said, I feel like New York does have a great shot at winning the World Series this year. I think that having A-Rod being totally healthy will be a huge advantage that the Yankees did not have last year. I feel like their starting pitching has significantly improved and basically their entire starting lineup (that helped them win the most games in the American League) is returning. Also, with a focused Rafael Soriano and a healthy David Robertson mixed with legendary Mariano Rivera, New York will have the best bullpen in the Majors.
Is it a guarantee, no. But do not be surprised if the Yankees make a strong push for a championship in October.
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