Williams said he would not accept the team’s current offer to come to spring training as a long shot on a minor league contract and perhaps play himself onto the roster if another player got hurt.Please Bernie, it's not going to happen. You've been an awesome Yankee, but there's no room for you anymore. Just take the hint and retire with dignity, or just sign with another team. Don't try to force yourself onto the roster. It's not pretty for all involved.
Instead, Williams said, he would maintain a waiting game of sorts by staying home, staying in shape, spurning offers of guaranteed contracts from other teams and waiting for the Yankees to change their minds and offer him a guaranteed spot on the roster.
Hughes continues to impress.
Hughes said last season gave him a low-pressure experience of what camp would be like. In one February workout, he buzzed a mid-90s heater past Alex Rodriguez, prompting the reigning AL MVP to ask a club executive, "Who the [heck] is that guy?"
"He's probably the best young pitcher we've had in this organization since I've been here, both in terms of stuff and in terms of performance," said [VP of baseball operations] Mark Newman, who joined the Yankees in 1989.
"[Hughes] had a month last year where he threw 80 percent fastball strikes. We've never had anybody do that. He went all year and didn't face a hitter with the bases loaded. All the performance indices we look at are off the charts."
Accordingly, the Yankees plan to increase Hughes' innings total this season to a ceiling of 180, no matter his level.First off, I totally agree with the Yanks policy of limited innings. The very last thing we want is Hughes pulling a Liriano and missing 18 months. What I see (and hope) is that Hughes stays in AAA where his pitch counts can be easily monitored. He pitches lights out until August, going 5 innings a start, compiling about 80 ip (16 starts) of sub-3.00 ERA ball. Igawa and Pavano will still be the 4/5 starters, with mediocre ERAs (4.50 range), and the less effective of the two will be moved to the pen to make way for Hughes. He'll still have 100 innings to give, so assuming he has 8-10 major league starts in August and September, at 5-7 innings a start (40-70 ip), he'll still have 30-60 innings in the tank for the playoffs.
Of course, we may see Hughes much earlier if injuries or ineffectiveness strike the rotation. All the ML starters except Igawa have injury histories. But Hughes is not the first in line when Pavano (probably) goes on the DL in May. I expect this to be the order of pitching callups: Rasner, Karstens, White, Hughes, Sanchez, Ohlendorf, Clippard.