Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Joba's shoulder might never be the same
From Craig's wrap of Amanda's tweeting of Brian Cashman's breakfast appearance this morning:
Cashman was asked, once again, about Joba Chamberlain starting. He said that Chamberlain hasn’t been the same pitcher since his injury that occurred in Texas back in 2008. This has been suspected, but I believe it’s the first time that the Yankees have publicly acknowledged that Chamberlain’s injury was a big deal.
That game in Texas was Chamberlain's 12th start, following 20 relief outings that season. In his first 11 starts, he'd posted a 2.23 ERA in 61 innings, with 23 walks and 69 strikeouts. At that point, it looked like the Yankees plans for their young phenom -- get him blooded with some relief work, then get him into the rotation -- had worked perfectly.
But after hurting his shoulder, Chamberlain missed a month. He did return to the bullpen that September, and actually pitched quite well.
That was only 11 innings, though. He didn't pitch well at all in 2009, as a starter. He pitched better than his 4.40 ERA in 2010, as a reliever. It now seems highly possible that Joba Chamberlain is just another in a long, long line of young pitchers whose arm simply couldn't withstand the rigors of throwing 100 pitches every five days. It's easy to blame the Yankees, because their handling of him got such great attention with such poor results. But if you're going to blame the Yankees, are you going to blame every other management team -- with the possible exception of the Tampa Bay Rays, these last couple of years -- in the history of Organized Baseball?