The Yankees are planning to go to spring training with Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain being programmed to start. "They can always go from starting to the bullpen, but it's tough going the other way," says Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
Cashman feels David Robertson and Damaso Marte can pitch the seventh and eighth innings in front of Mariano Rivera, but a Yankees run at John Lackey, Ben Sheets or another starter hasn't been ruled out. The feeling inside the Yankees' offices is that there will be some payroll cutback, but how much is not known.
That's the way to go. Preparing to start prevents Hughes and Joba from neglecting their third and fourth pitches, which they wouldn't really need as relievers. It also allows them to not look desperate for starting pitching on the trade/FA market. And if they do end up acquiring a couple 'established' starters, it's far easier to to move one of Hughes/Joba to the pen where they can 'drop' a pitch rather than having to 're-learn' a pitch late in the off-season.
- Elsewhere, the Yanks inked a 20-year-old Dominican IFA, Eladio Moronta.
MLB had suspended Moronta for one year earlier this year for misrepresenting his age, then lifted the suspension on September 28 after Moronta admitted he was 20 years old, not 17.
Moronta, who turns 21 on December 16, is a 6-foot-1, 183-pound righthanded hitter with plus-plus speed, a strong arm and projectable power.