Morrow, Chamberlain in similar boat

NEW YORK -The right-handed starter threw right around 100 pitches and made it halfway through the series opener between the Mariners and Yankees.

“It’s just learning how to pitch,” the manager said. “He is not what you would call an experienced big-league starter. There are some growing pains that you go through in learning how to pitch at this level.”

The manager added that his starter had “too many long counts.”

The manager was Joe Girardi and he was talking about Joba Chamberlain, a reliever-turned-starter.

Virtually the same things were being said in the visiting clubhouse at Yankee Stadium when Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu talked about right-hander Brandon Morrow, a reliever-turned-starter.

“The biggest thing we talk about is not about the stuff, but the inconsistency,” Wakamatsu said. “You saw some signs of real good pitching from him and that’s not easy against this ballclub, especially in this ballpark.”

Two pitching careers that have mirrored each other during the past three seasons were like identical twins at the new Yankee Stadium.

There seems to be a feeling in the blogger world — and a few media types — that the Mariners are doing Morrow a disservice by converting him back into a starter role at the Major League level, instead of grooming him at Triple-A Tacoma.

That is nonsense.

At some point, Morrow surely will find a release point that allows him to throw the ball where he wants and he has the kind of stuff that can dominate the opposing lineup. And it is better that he finds it at the big-league level – the same place a wild Randy Johnson found it early in his career, than in the Minors, as long as both he and the organization agree that this is the best approach in the big picture.

Johnson, after all, went through several years of “growing pains” before becoming one of the greatest pitchers in Major League history and he wasn’t sent to the Minor Leagues to “learn how to pitch”.

Chamberlain is going through the same transitional period as Morrow, and you don’t hear nearly as much “blogger chatter” about him being shipped to the Minors as Morrow.

–Jim Street

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