Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hughes Pitching For His Livelihood

Whether it was true or not, there were rumors that Yankees GM Brian Cashman was willing to include Phil Hughes in a deal to acquire Ubaldo Jimenez from the Colorado Rockies at the trade deadline. The Yankees and Rockies didn't come close to making a deal, but just having his name among the rumors had to unsettle Hughes.

It's been a tough 2011 for the California native, who was hoping to build off last year's All-Star, 18 victory season. But Hughes scuffled in the second half of 2010 and things got worse this year when his fastball disappeared. A trip to Dr. James Andrews revealed stress in Hughes' shoulder and the Yankee was put on a regimen of physical surgery and avoided surgery.

He worked his way back with exercise and throwing on flat ground until he was able to make three rehab starts in the minor leagues. Since being activated, Hughes has shown flashes of his early 2010 form, but hasn't been consistent with his fastball or his location. His first game back against Toronto was pretty good- 6 IP 4 H 2 ER 2 BB 5 SO 87 pitches, but he was awful in the Yankees 17-7 victory over the A's. He allowed 7 ER in 4+ innings and received no decision, despite what was a huge lead.

Hughes' last outing came against the weak hitting Seattle Mariners and his final line of two earned runs in six innings was misleading. He again struggled with location and allowed nine hits and a walk. Hughes was also behind in the count several times, but managed to escape most jams.

When Hughes was activated from the DL, Ivan Nova took the hit despite a decent 8-4, 4.12 record. Nova was recalled to pitch the nightcap of Saturday's day-night doubleheader with Baltimore and picked up his ninth win with seven solid innings. It was an outing that could cost Hughes his spot, especially if he doesn't have success in Chicago tonight.


CC Sabathia wasn't at his best last night, but still pitched well enough to pick up his 16th win a 3-2 victory over the White Sox. Mariano Rivera picked up his second straight save in as many days.

Robinson Cano played his 1,000th game last night.

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