The Yankees and Tigers were rained out on Sunday, throwing the Yankees’ pitching plans into a bit of disarray given that they were already muddled by the need to dedicate innings to each of the fifth-starter candidates as well as the pitchers who have the staff made. A.J. Burnett was supposed to start Sundays’ game with Phil Hughes pitching in relief. They will now fill those roles in Monday’s game against the Phillies. Andy Pettitte, who had already been bumped from Monday’s game by the need to give Joba Chamberlain innings, was scheduled to pitch in a minor league game on Monday, but with Burnett and Hughes pitching against the Phillies, Pettitte’s game will now be an intrasquad contest between two teams of Yankee minor leaguers, and his mound opponent will now be Joba Chamberlain.
It seems telling that the Yankees are bumping Chamberlain to the intrasquad game, though I’m not quite sure what it tells us. I would think that, after Chamberlain’s early struggles this spring, the Yankees would be most eager to see him face a major league lineup and would rather let Burnett pitch in the minor league game. Are the Yankees showing excessive faith in Chamberlain by letting him face minor leaguers in what could be the most crucial start of the spring for him? Are they showing a lack of faith by not letting him face the major leaguers? Have they already reached a decision on Chamberlain without telling anyone? Am I reading too much into this? It doesn’t seem insignificant given that Joe Girardi has said he’d like to start eliminating pitchers from the competition this week and perhaps even choose a fifth starter by the end of the week.