Monday, April 21, 2008

Hank Tells it Like it is

Hank Steinbrenner is back to being Hank Steinbrenner, giving baseball fans some noteable quotes and a little indication of what he'd like to see.

Most notably, and unsurprisingly, Hank wants Joba in the starting rotation. This is good news to many Yankee fans, who have been clamoring for him to start for a while now. This will also disappoint some misguided fans who still cling to the idea that Joba is more valuable to the team only pitching one inning in relief every two or three days.

"I want him as a starter and so does everyone else, including him, and that is what we are working toward and we need him there now. There is no question about it, you don’t have a guy with a 100-mile-per-hour fastball and keep him as a setup guy. You just don’t do that. You have to be an idiot to do that.”

Hank (hopefully) realizes that it's probably not best to throw Chamberlain and his injury history into the rotation too early, and that Joba needs to be brought along gradually until he is ready to pitch a full season as a starter.

“The mistake was already made last year switching him to the bullpen out of panic or whatever. I had no say in it last year and I wouldn’t have allowed it. That was done last year, so now we have to catch up. It has to be done on a schedule so we don’t rush him.”

“I think once Hughes and Kennedy get plenty of starts and get Joba back, and with Wang and Pettitte, we will be fine.”

It's good to see that a Steinbrenner, coming from a family not known for its patience, realizes it will take time for the two young pitchers to come along. The young boss is still disappointed that he doesn't have Johan Santana in his starting rotation, but he recognizes that Hughes and Kennedy will be productive starters in time.

Notice that he doesn't mention Mussina in that last quote. When addressing Moose, Hank said he "just needs to learn how to pitch like Jamie Moyer," and doesn't come across as being pleased with his veteran arm.

The good news is that Hank isn't ready to give up on Kennedy and Hughes, and he's not going to rush Joba into the starting lineup too soon. There is frustration building, however, and don't expect Hank and the rest of the Steinbrenner family to wait too long before doing something drastic about the current season.

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