Good afternoon everyone, it’s time for another edition of the mailbag. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.
Ronald R. asks: I saw Ben Rortvedt’s name for the first time in the minor league update. Is it likely that he will be recalled at some point to provide a better backup for Trevino? Is Higashioka out of options and would that be enough to block Rortvedt?
Kyle Higashioka is indeed out of options, which to me closes the door on this discussion for this season. Rortvedt’s lengthy injury opened the door for Trevino to make the roster, but there’s no chance that Trevino will be willingly replaced at this point, and Rortvedt will need time to get back into game shape before he could even contest Higashioka. At that point, it probably isn’t worth rocking the boat for a minor part of the roster unless Rortvedt sets the minors ablaze in the next month or so.
The idiot that said, “Harper is coming” asks: There’s been very little to complain about concerning the Yankees pitching staff and the way they’ve been utilized, but I have to question one aspect of the pitching in the organization. Are they rushing some of these pitchers back from injury? After Loáisiga’s struggles last night, and Chapman’s in his first outing, are we looking at a rust issue or something else. This seems to happen pretty often with returning Yankees from injury.
I don’t think it’s fair to say that they’re rushing these players back. In the case of Chapman and Loáisiga, both of these pitchers ended up having longer rehabs than initially predicted. Loáisiga was lined up to return at the end of June but just returned now in the middle of July, and Chapman initially thought he would be able to return without a rehab stint in the minors, but the team ended up having him throw in three games before returning. Neither has been effective in the slightest this year, and the prevailing thought was that their injuries played a massive part in that, but their control is an underlying concern — they simply aren’t putting themselves in good counts to not get rocked, and then when forced to throw a strike end up hanging some pitches.
Adam asks: After seeing the recent spate of position players who have pitched against the Yankees, even though it’s not how the operate, if they had to, who do you see as the most likely position players to take the mound for them in a blowout?
In terms of likelihood, you have to start with Anthony Rizzo. His infamous pitching appearance against Freddie Freeman last year got plenty of buzz, and I believe Aaron Boone has said that he thought about bringing Rizzo in as a pitcher at one point in the season already. After that, I’d see if someone like DJ LeMahieu would be down to give it a shot — a real one, and not tossing 35 mph eephus pitches like most position players opt to do.
I’m personally very over the concept of position players pitching, mostly because they’ve been asked to do it far too often now and don’t even reach batting practice-levels of effort anymore, but the occasional position player that actually tries to sling it like Jackie Bradley Jr. did a week ago gives it some life. Judge could probably give it some heat, but I don’t think asking a 6-foot-7 linebacker of a man to attempt actual pitching mechanics when he hasn’t done so since high school is a good idea. La Machine seems like the kind of guy who would go out there and attempt to do the job instead of just soaking an inning, so why not give him a shot if the situation demanded it.