Are The Yankees Babying Joba?
Tonight’s 10-9 loss to the Rangers was about pitching, pure and simple. The offense was fine (except for Nick Swisher’s lame bunt attempt). Nothing wrong with four runs in the first, another in the fifth and a four-run rally in the ninth that fell just short of a pie in someone’s face.
But Joba’s outing was another story. Another sad story.
He was coming off eight days rest – the idea being to prevent injury and keep him fresh should the Yankees be playing October baseball. I get it. I do. He’s never thrown this many innings in a season and the Yanks have to be careful not to overtax their valuable asset.
Or is that just a crock?
“Do you honestly think his arm will fall off if he pitches on regular rest?” I asked my husband Michael, who is far wiser than I am. More patient, too.
“They can’t just throw him out there every four days if he’s not stretched out,” said Michael. “He’ll end up with an injury – and it could jeopardize his future.”
“Stretched out,” I scoffed. “In the old days, pitchers just pitched. Nobody worried about how much.”
“Yeah, and their careers didn’t last long. Look at Koufax. Look at Sam McDowell. Look at Tommy John. There were tons of them whose arms blew out.”
“But who’s to say their arms wouldn’t have blown out even if their innings had been restricted? Some of these injuries have to do with the pitcher’s mechanics.”
“It’s been medically proven that you can’t have young pitchers throw an unlimited number of innings or they’ll have problems.”
“So you agree with the Yankees’ Joba Rules?”
“I don’t agree with how they keep messing with his routine,” said Michael. “Pitchers are creatures of habit. You can’t tell a guy he’s on eight days rest, then four days rest, then eight days rest again. No wonder he’s screwed up.”
“You blame outings like tonight on his routine?” I said. “He gave up seven runs in four innings. He’s not aggressive. He doesn’t throw strikes. He goes to full counts on everybody. Maybe he’s just not as good as we thought.”
“He does seem to go out there without a plan, completely lost.”
“Maybe he has a plan but can’t execute it,” I suggested.
“But then why isn’t Dave Eiland talking to him in the dugout during a game? Or Jorge? They should be coaching him more.”
I shrugged. “It’s a mystery. But I know one thing.”
“I’m not wild about Chad Gaudin. Please make him go away.”
“I’ll work on it,” he said.
What a guy. If only I could get Cashman to work on it too.


  1. Erin Kathleen

    Well, I don’t know if Joba is being babied too much or not, though I can’t say I blame the Yankees for wanting to protect one of their prized pitching prospects. The Dusty Baker method of blowing through rotator cuffs and elbow ligaments probably isn’t the best way to handle young pitchers, either. All I know is that we will never, ever, ever hear the end of the Joba-as-a-starter-vs.-a-reliever debate.-Erin

  2. yankeesfan2009

    I know this goes against my Joba is a starter theroy but lets look at the facts. According to the Joba Rules he will be getting about 5 more starts. Then what happens? He goes to the bullpen for the playoffs. In the als it will be
    Game one CC
    game two AJ
    day off
    Game three AP
    game four CC on short rest
    game five if necessary Joba
    The odds of Joba getting a start in the als are slim he will most likely be used in long relief. my point is put him in the bull pen now, DFA Gaudin put Towers back on the 40 man and experiment with the pitchers in Scranton to get ready for the playoffs


  3. JQuist

    *One thing’s for sure… you never quite know what to expect when Joba’s on the mound. I love watching him start, but I’d be lieing if I said that he isn’t ‘iffy’ majority of the time. It’s a tough call – We’ve seen him go deep and let up nothing, and we’ve seen him go 3 innings and allow 6 runs… (Just an example.) Here’s a throwback… Remember our good friend Chein-Ming Wang? I was furious that he kicked off the season with 5 or 6 straight losses, and still kept getting the opportunity to ‘get it together,’ (despite putting up the worst numbers in the league.) If Wang can get 8th-chances after doing that horrible, I definently think Joba is entitled to make mistakes when he shows signs of dominance every couple games… He just needs to quit bouncing back and forth! (Great start, terrible start – great start, terrible start.)

  4. lenn23

    I don’t know if they are babying him or not, I just know that the prospect of him starting a possible playoff game scares the heck out of me! Wish they were able to trade for a #4 type starter at the deadline, someone who could at least eat innings. Maybe he should be in the bullpen and Hughes start?


    Not much that I can add, Jane. You and the four contributors who went before me said it all. It was a very exciting ending – too bad it ended with a double play – at least it wasn’t a game ending triple play (sorry Mets fans). Speaking of which, do you think that the Mets basically caused Santana’s season ending medical problems? That would be the opposite of what the Yankees are doing with Joba — not that at this point in their careers I would dare compare Joba to Johan. HHHMMMM!!! Hey Dave, if you’re out there you should re-write the great Santana song “You’ve Got to Change Your Evil Ways”.

    We need to take the next two games – let’s hope.


    I think Joba needs to mature quite a lot. He hasn’t passed his little league days yet. When he pitches I am on the edge of my chair. I never change channels during the game but, I watched a very interesting show on Discovery Health for some relief of my Joba anxiety. Don’t the Yankees see what we all see that Joba is not a starter if he can’t go more than 5 innings. Ken Singleton made a comment before the game that Joba had strike outs but in the next breath said he also had a lot of walks.


    on another track for a moment……..
    Swisher doesn’t bunt. As LoHud said – maybe 6-7 times in his career. This is all Girardi. And why the hell would you want these guys who CAN get on base to bunt? I don’t believe Swish bunted on his own.
    I have never been a fan of Girardi as manager. Between our pitching/pen and Girardi I worry about our October….hell our September! Sorry I know I am in the minority here but Girardi has got to go…..Jane wanna manage?

  8. junojen

    My husband and I talk about the way pitchers used to pitch complete games “back in the day.” So to Jeff’s comments I say: AMEN.

    I think Mike has some pretty insightful comments up there, too. He is definitely thinking ahead. And what he says makes sense to me. Put Joba in the bullpen now and get him into a routine for post season success.

    Hey – what am I saying here? I’m a Red Sox fan. I say put Joba in the starting rotation and make him pitch on 3 days rest and blow out his arm. Yeah. That’s the ticket!


  9. southernbelle

    Jane: “Please make him go away.” I don’t know why, but that really made me laugh. You are so funny. I think babying Joba is stupid. Just give him the damn ball and let him throw it every 5 days. He stinks this way. And he needs to stop throwing 100 pitches in 4 innings. Just throw your 95+ fastball right down Broadway and strike the guys out! Easier said than done. I hope Andy is good tonight. -Virginia

  10. Jane Heller

    The debate will probably rage on, Erin, but I’m more interested in the general question of whether this whole pinch count/innings limit concern is legit. I think it’s true that too many innings can blow out a young pitcher’s arm (or rotator cuff). There just seems to be a fine line between overuse and overprotection.

    I don’t think there’s anybody in Scranton who could do the job, Mike. Otherwise, we would have seen them by now. I’m sure Joba will end up in the pen once his prescribed starts are over this season, but until he gets on board with Jorge and stops shaking him off, the result will be more inconsistency.

    JQuist, you put your finger on the frustrating aspect of Joba. He’s so much fun to watch when he shows us his electrifying stuff. But then there are those outings when he nibbles and gets behind in counts. It’s the inconsistency that troubles me.

    It’s too late for Hughes to start, Len. And I like him right where he is for now. But I agree that Cashman should have acquired somebody better than Gaudin/Mitre, although I’m sure he tried. Maybe it’s not too late?

    Santana, Wang, and how many other pitchers are out for the season with arm trouble, Diane? It just goes to show that teams have to protect their pitchers from injury, but how much protection is too much? I’m confused!

    You raise a good point, koala. Joba hardly pitched in college and didn’t have many innings in the minor leagues. So while he’s mature in some ways (talent, strikeout ability, # of pitches he can throw), he’s really young in pitcher years.

    Mhugill, I think I’ll leave the managing to Joe! Haha. But that bunt attempt by Swisher last night was quite the strange move. #1 He doesn’t bunt. #2 Why take the out. #3 He walks a lot. #4 He’s been swinging a hot bat. #5 He has a good on base percentage. Well, you get the point. It was a rally killer all right.

    I hear you, Jeff. But Nolan Ryan’s philosophy with the Rangers pitchers is: If you pitched 6 innings in the minors, you’ll pitch 7 now. In other words, he’s not saying pitch a complete game and who cares about your arm. He’s trying to stretch guys out, which I think is smart.

    Hey, thanks for the tips, Jen! I love that you’re trying to help the Yankees. HAHAHA! I agree that there should be a plan for Joba that doesn’t involve moving the guy from 8 days to 4 days and back. Too much juggling and uncertainty.

  11. Jane Heller

    I wish Joba would just throw the ball too, Virginia. He’s not being aggressive most of the time, and I don’t know why. It’s maddening, because we all know he has the capability. Grrrr! Let’s hope Andy has a great outing tonight. I don’t mind losing the first game of a series when we come right back and win the next two.

  12. Jonestein

    I’m stunned we managed to take the first game from you guys, especially with that ninth inning Frank Francisco meltdown…I felt like I was back in Arlington on Aug 14th against the Red Sox! Good thing Elvis was in the building.

  13. Jane Heller

    Good thing Elvis was in the building is right, Jonestein. I thought the Yankees were on their way to a comeback, but NO! It was over so fast I had to sit there trying to figure out what happened. LOL.

  14. peggy3

    I looked like AJ after Swisher bunted…”Why, Why, Why??”…
    Still not sure if the bunt was Swish’s idea or Girardi…either way …WHY ???? Swish has a high OBP so WHY bunt ..let him hit or walk ?? Oh well …easy to second guess. If he would have gotten the bunt down and Melky drove the run in we most likely all would have been applauding the play.

    As far as Joba …I also mentioned awhile back how he only started pitching senior year and that he only has 150 innings in the minors as opposed to most pitchers who get 400-500 before coming up to the big league. This screwing around with his starts can’t be helping him either ….it’s not easy for a vet player to handle that so must be worse for a young guy. He’s got the amazing stuff…we have witnessed it…he just has to learn how to use it and stop shaking off the catcher so much…that really drives me crazy. Hopefully with time he will develop into the Joba we all are dreaming about …the BIG ACE !!! Patience Yankee fans ….

    I’m going to the game tonight …hope Andy pitches dandy and we win !!!

    Go Yankees 2009 !!!

  15. ibleedpinstripes

    I really don’t get what’s up with Joba. It irks me that he can’t get his stuff together. Even on regular rest lately he’s been terrible. I just wish he’d come out of whatever funk this is. We need him in the home stretch. I don’t like this not-having-stability-in-the-rotation thing on bit. Andy better put our minds at ease tonight, or I’m making a firecracker trip to the Bronx, if you catch my drift.

    – Lisa

  16. Jane Heller

    Joba does have amazing stuff, Peggy. That’s what makes his season so frustrating to watch. I do hope the Yankees can find a way to harness it and get some consistency from him. Maybe we’ll just have to wait until next season. Dunno. Enjoy tonight’s game and bring the Yankees luck!

    I don’t get it either, Lisa, but as everybody has said, it can’t be easy not having a regular schedule. On top of that, he just seems to be struggling with the concept of going out there as a starter and being aggressive. It’s not as if he doesn’t have great mentors in the dugout. Let’s hope for better things from Andy tonight.

  17. Inside the Thought Bubble

    The Joba situation certainly is becoming quite a debacle. If you don’t rest him, you might hurt him and if you do rest him, you’ll throw off his rhythym and it leads to outings like these. However, to keep him fresh he did throw a simulated game in between starts, and although there is no substitute for a real game, blah blah, you would imagine something like that would loosen him up and maybe keep him fresh a little bit. I think this might just be Joba getting a little tired and entering the off days of his streaky pitching. Theres stretches where hes lights out and stretches where he can’t get past 5 to save his life, and thats just how it works out for him. I think that in a few more starts and on a slightly extended rest, Joba will snap out of it.

  18. Jane Heller

    I knew you’d be glad to be rid of Gaudin, Kaybee. And now we’re stuck with him – ugh! He’s not that bad but…well, yes he is.

    You have a very reasonable approach to the Joba situation, R. I hope you’re right and he’ll bounce back on Sunday. Right now I honestly don’t know what to expect each time he takes the mound and that’s scary if we’re talking about putting him in a postseason spot.

  19. raysrenegade

    Some of the pitching gurus and wizards think that you slowly adjust and add innings to a young pitcher before you set him free on the world and let him go until his arm falls off ( like Pettitte).
    Maybe it is more of a selective innings thing where they want to lewt him grow into the position knowing they have a comfortable lead in the A L East.
    Worse case scenario, he is tweaked a bit and trying to pitch through a slight injury, but I do not think that is the problem here.
    He is just going through that sophomore spell where you are at the crossraods of success and failure and might not see the true path.
    That is why you live and die by your young pitching sometimes. But with the veterans around him, he might wander for a bit, but he will again find the yellow brick road and be okay………….

    Rays Renegade

  20. Jane Heller

    I’m living and dying by Joba, Renegade (mostly dying lately), and I think there will be a payoff down the road, yellow brick or otherwise! I think a sophomore slump is very possible.

    So the pie inspired you, JQuist? I’d better come look.

  21. raysfanboy

    I think that the Yanks have babied Joba much too much this year. I understood when they tried to bring him in to the rotation slowly by getting him into the pen and then monitoring his pitch count. I’m not a fan of that approach, but I understand it. However, it is just ridiculous now. 8 days’ rest b/c you are worried about his arm? Um, isn’t he a major leaguer? Shouldn’t he be ABLE to pitch every 5th day? Enough already. Put him in the rotation and let him do his thing, good or bad.

  22. Jane Heller

    The one thing to remember, raysfanboy, is that Joba has a history of arm problems. He was out last season after they tried to stretch him, so I do get why they’re taking extra care in that regard. But the switching of routines can’t be helpful.

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