A FEW QUICK NOTES BEFORE THE DAY GAME
Randy Ruiz is a nice story, but are the Blue Jays kidding, calling him up to DH and playing Joe Inglett in right field when they have Travis Snider in the Minors? Sure, Snider failed to hit coming out of Spring Training, but he’s batting .319/.414/.650 at Las Vegas, is crazy hot right now and remains a top prospect. The decision is a nice break for the Yankees, given they get to play an opponent without a right fielder and a DH without plate judgment — Ruiz has power, but what has kept him in the Minors is that he’s a hacker without a position. It’s a dubious call on the part of the Jays, unless they care more about retarding Snider’s service time than fielding a competitive unit for the rest of the year.
On Derek Jeter’s quest for 3,000 hits: If Jeter plays in the Yankees’ remaining 49 games (we know he’ll be forced into a day off shortly, but this is a thought experiment; adjust accordingly) and continues to average 4.3 at-bats per game, that would give him another 211 at-bats. Say he maintains his current .318 average over those at-bats. He would add another 67 hits to his current 145, giving him 212 for the season and 2,747 for his career. Three-thousand would still wait for 2011, but he’d be much closer than could have been expected at the start of the season.
Finally, a quick note about the Joba Rules II: They might not make sense and could hurt Joba. The danger might not be innings pitched, but stressful pitch counts. That Joba might throw a few more innings than the Yankees want is probably not a big deal, and in any case, you can’t know exactly where the injury inflection point is. The only foolproof way of dealing with that is to wrap him in Mylar and stick him in the basement.
No, the bigger danger is more likely to be created by the extra time off than to be prevented by it, and that is high-pitch innings. The less fine control Joba has, and he seems to have less with the extended layoffs and the knowledge that he’s on a short leash, the more he’ll labor in games, have innings in which he walks two batters, allows a hit, and strikes out another. We don’t know for sure, but it’s entirely possible that 110-pitch outings are not created equal, and that a game where a pitcher throws 50 pitches in one inning and 60 in all others is far more damaging to the arm than one in which the pitches are more evenly spread out. It is entirely possible that the Yankees are creating exactly that situation here. There’s nothing more dangerous than good intentions.