Felix and rehab
Baker makes an interesting point on the Times blog:
All I’ll say about Hernandez is that he looks like a guy who could have used a rehab assignment before stepping back in to face major league hitters.
Here’s the interesting thing: I totally agree, and I totally understand why they didn’t.
I made the point during the first start, but Felix’s return, where he didn’t look fine, and really, as Baker notes, like someone who would have been better off with a rehab assignment or two, picking up innings working more easily even if that meant finding him a start in AA or wherever.
But! Felix’s short, tentative, ill return was better than any Jeff Weaver start this year. If you’d had the choice, ahead of time, between Weaver and that Felix start, you’d take Felix’s. The team, illusory or not, was competing for the division lead, and it wouldn’t have made much of a difference to Felix’s recovery if he worked there, with instructions to limit his use of breaking pitches, or did the same thing in the minors.
Similarly, today: in an ideal world, he gets a second start in the minors to get even better, work on his stuff, and it’s clear that while he’s better than he was the last time he took the mound, he’s still not quite all there.
But his start today was better, really, than anything we’ve received from any non-Washburn starter in the rotation this year. That’s a sad comment on how bad the 3-4-5 guys have been, but it also makes it entirely understandable why the team’s better off having a shaky Felix up and working out his issues here than they are with Weaver taking his turns and waiting.