It Ain’t That Easy In The Big Leagues
- Ian Kennedy joins Phil Hughes on the disabled list:
I don’t think this is what Ian Kennedy and Philip Hughes had in mind as the entire winter was spent by prognosticators and talent evaluators predicting what the Yankees young pitchers were going to accomplish this year. Big league reality has a habit of biting young phenoms in the butt without warning. The worst part about this is that Kennedy looked like he was on the road to becoming a competent (for a rookie) big league starter by season’s end; not that he was going to live up to the pre-season hype of being “the next Mike Mussina”, but his control had improved and he’d shown some fortitude in extricating himself from some jams. Now he joins Hughes on the disabled list. It’s somewhat odd that the injuries have nothing to do with either pitcher’s arm, but their torsos. Hughes is on the DL with a fractured rib and now Kennedy has strained an oblique, an injury for which there is no way to come up with an accurate time frame for a return.
Much like the injury to Hughes, it’s not the best case scenario in which to give a struggling rookie a breather and limiting his innings, but it will serve that purpose. Neither pitcher has to endure the ignominy of huge hype and a demotion (with Kennedy, it would have been two demotions); and both will pitch in the minor leagues on rehab assignments when they’re healthy enough. This way the Yankees can leave both pitchers in the minors for extra time if they deem it necessary and explain it away as continued rehab even if they’re healthy enough to return to the majors.
- Does Bill Hall have a right to be irritated at his benching?
Bill Hall has been slumping since the season started especially against right-handed pitching—-ESPN Story—-and Brewers manager Ned Yost has statistical evidence to justify the platoon he’s using with Hall and Russell Branyan, but Hall has an argument to be allowed to work his way through this slump without losing his job. Hall is a guy without a clear cut position and has done everything the Brewers have asked of him. He hit 35 homers as a shortstop in 2006, moved to the outfield last season in favor of J.J. Hardy and, on very short notice, switched positions with the iron-gloved third baseman Ryan Braun at the beginning of this season. He’s done everything asked of him without complaint and, while it may not seem to be that big of a deal to move from one position to another, who knows how the fielding concerns have affected Hall’s bat?
Hall’s 35-homer season in 2006 was probably a freak occurrence, but to platoon him with a guy like Branyan so early strikes me as either desperation move by Yost or a way to get Hall angry enough to wake up his bat. Brewers GM Doug Melvin is smart enough to know that Russell Branyan is not the answer at third base, nor is he a good enough player to replace Hall for the entire season. At this point in his career, the journeyman Branyan is a feast or famine player who strikes out too much and provides little more than the threat of a home run when he makes contact. He murders Triple A pitching, but is little more than the 28th guy on an active big league roster of 25 players. Hall was angered by the decision, singled in the ninth and scored the winning run. The fiery reaction by Hall may have been what was intended and, for one night at least, it worked.