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This Day in Yankees History: Joba gets sent to the bullpen

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Somehow already a decade ago, the Yankees handed Phil Hughes a starting job, and sent Joba Chamberlain to the bullpen.

New York Yankees v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With the start of the 2020 season delayed for the foreseeable future, the Pinstripe Alley team decided to revive the program in a slightly different format. These daily posts will highlight two or three key moments in Yankees history on a given date, as well as recognize players born on the day. Hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane with us!

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This Day in Yankees History (March 25)

106 years ago

Over a century ago, Babe Ruth made the first start of his professional career. It was an exhibition game, of course, and he took the mound for the Red Sox. The 19-year-old Ruth was still primarily a starting pitcher, but he went on to only throw 23 innings that season, to go along with 10 plate appearances as a hitter. The next season, though, he would toss over 200 innings with an ERA+ of 114 while also hitting .313, kicking off his tenure as a two-way star.

85 years ago

The Yankees purchased right-handed pitcher Pat Malone from the Chicago Cubs. This qualified as a major move just before the season, as the 32-year-old Malone had won over 100 games for the Cubs over the previous six years. Malone underwhelmed in New York, posting a 96 ERA+ in just 283 innings as a Yankee, spread across three seasons.

10 years ago

This one made me feel old! On this day, the Yankees apparently handed the fifth-starter job heading into the 2010 season to Phil Hughes, and officially sent Joba Chamberlain to the bullpen. You may recall Hughes was a crucial part of the team’s bullpen the year before, while Chamberlain had spent nearly the entire 2009 campaign as an average starter. This flip-flopping of roles was emblematic of the pair’s tenure in New York, as they progressed from top prospects, to young phenoms, to frustrating big leaguers.

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Happy 33rd birthday to former Yankee legend Kirby Yates, who has had a career rebirth in San Diego since departing New York. Lee Mazzilli turns 64 today; Mazzilli played for the Yankees in 1982, and also coached for them for several seasons in the early-aughts.

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We thank Baseball-Reference, Nationalpastime.com, and FanGraphs for providing background information for these posts.