Could Alfredo Aceves pitch his way into the Yankees' rotation?

Al Bello

Aceves pitched extremely well in Sunday's game. Could he end up replacing Phelps or Nuno in the rotation?

Never in a million years would I have thought that Alfredo Aceves might find his way into the Yankees' rotation, and yet here we are. After the dreadful extra-innings loss to the Rays the other day, the Yankees DFA'd Chris Leroux and called up Aceves. He made his debut in Sunday's game, when he came in to relieve CC Sabathia in the 4th inning. Aside from a weird moment in the 5th inning where everyone gathered around the mound to try and figure out if Aceves had a leg injury (he didn't!), Aceves had an excellent outing. He pitched 5.1 scoreless innings and struck out five batters while giving up only three hits without walking anyone.

If he continues to pitch this way, Aceves just might earn himself a spot in the rotation. With Ivan Nova out for the season, and Michael Pineda expected to be out for at least another month, Vidal Nuno and David Phelps have joined the rotation. Although Phelps has yet to have an official start, he has not been pitching great as a reliever so far. In 11.2 innings, he's allowed 10 hits, 5 runs, 3 home runs, and 7 walks. He's also struck out 16, giving him an ERA of 3.86 and a 1.46 WHIP. Furthermore, Phelps has not pitched more than 2 innings this season (and hasn't been in a game since April 23), so he's only expected to pitch 5 innings in tonight's start. If Phelps is terrible, Aceves could just take his next start, especially since he's already stretched out.

Then there's Nuno. Since joining the rotation, Nuno has had one excellent start, followed by two blah starts. On April 20th, he shutout the Rays for five innings while allowing just three hits and striking out 6. He hasn't even stayed in the game for five innings in either of his last two starts. During his last two starts (9 IP), Nuno gave up 7 runs, 2 home runs, 5 walks and struck out 6 batters. Depending on how Phelps looks tonight, it might be better for Aceves to take Nuno's spot. Of course, the Yankees could just wait a few weeks and see if Aceves continues to perform like he did in Sunday's game, but sending Phelps and Nuno off to pitch against the Angels and Brewers is kind of scary.

Do you think Aceves will end up in the rotation at some point, and that Nuno or Phelps would be better off in the bullpen?

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