BY KEN DAVIDOFF
Newsday Staff Correspondent
November 16, 2006, 10:41 PM EST ____________________________________________________
NOW they’re talking. Here’s Brian Cashman’s quote, from Naples, FL:
"We’ll probably have him proceed and prepare as a starter, because you can always go the other way, slide him down and reduce his workload. But it’s hard to go the other way. But that’s for another day."
In 2005, Scott Proctor was a starter being squeezed into a reliever’s innings. I used to grimace when I heard that he was warming up in the bullpen. Floraine Kay and Marc Marc can tell you how I would repeat myself whenever he failed, announcing with familiar emphasis that the should have expected this, as he was a STARTER, not a reliever, that you could tell by how he used so many pitches and how he approached the at-bats. Early in the 2006 season, Proctor stared down death and helped his baby daughter recover from a life-threatening heart condition, he re-joined the team a little late and was nearly flawless as a reliever. I do not know what happened, and I wrote about this transition from starter to reliever at the time. In fact, back in 2005, I complained that he was being shoehorned into a role that did not fit. (In 2005, we kept hearing that "they" "loved his ‘stuff’" and were willing to put up with his struggles.)
In 2005 Proctor played in 29 games and averaged 49.2 innings, ending with an ERA of 6.04. He started 1 game and won it, accounting for his 1-0 W-L record. In 2006 he played in 83 games and averaged 102.1 innings, ending with a substantially lower ERA of 3.52. Although he did not start any games, his W-L record was 6-4, and more importantly, his Hold count was 26, whereas it was 0 in 2005. (As I may have noted elsewhere, I believe the Hold is one of the most under-used stats in baseball, and I strongly argue for its inclusion in box scores.)
So now, back to starter. Wow. Scott, I admire your Iron-Clad stomach. Good Luck.
Readers, should the Yankees convert Proctor back to a starter now that he is a successful reliever? What about the Mets’ Aaron Heilman, who shares the profile, and who has been quite vocal about his desire to return to starting?