The Yankees had to make yet another roster move yesterday to clear a 25-man spot for the newly signed Mark Reynolds. In a move that came as a surprise, it was Preston Claiborne who got sent down. With rosters expanding in 2 weeks, it's not the end of the world for him. Claiborne will be called back up and he should re-assume the role he had carved out as top middle inning guy. Still, the decision to send Claiborne down when there were other more worthy candidates doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
The Yankees won't be short handed in manpower without Claiborne this weekend. They called up David Huff before the series to give them an extra arm and an extra lefty to use as they see fit. Huff could also be used as a long man if the situation arises in the next 2 games, which is why I didn't get the decision to demote Claiborne over Adam Warren. Warrens's recent struggles are well-documented and he's arguably the weakest pitcher on the bullpen staff right now. Sending him down to work on some things could have helped him return better when rosters expanded. It also could have given the Yankees a chance to stretch him out a bit and give themselves an emergency starting option, something they don't have right now if someone were to get hurt.
There's also the added problem of Joba Chamberlain picking up the innings that Claiborne would have pitched, like last night's 9th inning for example. Joba managed to record just 2 outs while loading the bases in a 7-run game, and it took a call to Huff to finish the inning off after the bases were loaded on a 2-out walk. Joba has been horrible for months, and has been reduced to the last man out in the 'pen. He's done nothing to warrant a promotion to higher leverage innings and that's exactly what he's going to get with Claiborne down. The argument could be made that DFA'ing Joba to open a spot for Reynolds would have been a better move than sending Claiborne down.
As far as Claiborne is concerned, things are fine. He pitched well in his last appearance, showing no negative effects of his ugly outing against Detroit last weekend. He's proven himself to be worthy of the role he earned and it's a role that should be waiting for him when rosters expand. As for the Yankees, I'm not so sure. The bullpen is weaker without Claiborne and with guys like Joba and Huff pitching his innings. If the team is serious about trying to make a Wild Card run, I don't see how willingly downgrading the bullpen helps that cause.