Ian Kennedy is on a mission to prove he belongs, says Brian Cashman, who added that Phil Hughes has spent his winter at Athletes Performance Center in L.A., in efforts to stay on the field a full year. But the young duo, along withAlfredo Aceves are ticketed to open the season in Scranton, barring injury or some other unforeseeable spring training occurrence.
"They both know what we think about them as assets for this franchise,'' Cashman said today of Hughes and Kennedy. Having more pitching depth was a key issue for Cash, but would going from last year's opening day Yankee roster to this year's opening day Scranton roster have a damaging effect on the duo?
Cashman doesn't think so, but he did say something revealing about Kennedy: "Maybe we put too much on him too early,'' said Cash, adding that relying on IPK in last year's rotation was the "wrong call,'' and "I take responsibility for that.''
Hughes has dealt with a pulled hamstring, a badly sprained ankle and a rib stress fracture over the past two seasons, and hasn't topped off his development. Looks like he'll have that chance now. And, incidentally, Cash still plans on havingJoba as a starter, though he acknowledged that Chamberlain could be skipped a start, or given extra rest every so often, just to remain under his innings cap.
Also, Posada was in N.Y. today for a follow-up exam on his right shoulder; both he and Marianoare on track to start the season on time, though Cash said you won't know (especially about Posada) until the grind begins. Matsui's knee is apparently healing well, with more mobility than he had after last year's similar surgery on the opposite knee.