As has long been promised by Yankee general manager Brian Cashman, top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield has finally been called up, and the move has everyone wondering how they will use the youngster down the stretch, per the MLB’s website. It was widely believed he would make an appearance last month when the pitching staff was mired in injuries, per The Inquisitr, and then again when rosters expanded on September 1. For a brief time, it was being floated that Cashman might not call-up Sheffield at all, as the pitching rotation and bullpen showed signs of settling in at the beginning of the month.
Now that the International League championship series is over, with Sheffield’s Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders losing the five-game series to the Durham Bulls, there is nowhere else in the system for Sheffield to go and continue to play except for the Yankees. That combined with Aroldis Chapman still being a few days away from returning to the club, C.C. Sabathia getting knocked out in the third inning against Oakland yesterday, after a week that included Sonny Gray exiting the game in the third as well, the Yankees can use fresh arms in the bullpen, according to NJ Advance Media. Sheffield had a few words to say about the promotion, but he was very enthusiastic about it.
“I am still at a loss for words. I’m super excited. I just can’t believe it.”
Justus Sheffield on the phone being told he’s been called up and his reaction is amazing. This is why we love baseball ⚾️❤️pic.twitter.com/Ignv0CbF8D— Baseball King™ (@BasebaIlKing) September 16, 2018
Reports from MLB’s website and Pinstripe Alley confirm that the plan is still to use Sheffield in a relief role. Since late August, he transitioned from starting. to relief, to begin preparing to work from the pen for the Yankees. While there were a few rumors that he may get a spot start or two — which gained new life after bad outings from Yankee starters this week — there have been no signals from Yankee manager Aaron Boone that Sheffield will be used that way. NJ Advance Media reported that Sheffield was talking about his transition to the bullpen after the Game 5 loss to the Durham Bulls.
“The transition to the bullpen, obviously, I knew there was something going on there. So it was hard for me to block it out and do my thing. When I did, I felt back to myself. It was one of those things where it was hard to block out.”
While his work in the bullpen hasn’t impressed as much as he did as a starter, the Yankees are trying to limit the number of innings he throws this year, as is common with most top prospects. As was reported at The Inquisitr, Justus Sheffield was considered to be the top potential impact prospect this season by The Sporting News, who believed he would be used in a role similar to David Price by Tampa Bay when he made his debut. Although the Yankees have said nothing regarding how, or how much, they intend to use Sheffield out of the bullpen, with home-field advantage on the line for the wild-card game, it is thought there will be no restrictions.