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Hughes could lose rotation spot with Yankees

Posted on: August 2, 2011 11:50 am

By Evan Brunell

On Tuesday night, Phil Hughes (pictured) will draw the ball for the Yankees against the White Sox. He'll do so as a member of a six-man rotation, as manager Joe Girardi wants to keep Ivan Nova in the rotation.

Nova was demoted to the minors after his July 1st start despite posting a 4.12 ERA. He returned to the majors to help out with a pitching crunch on Saturday, allowing just two runs in seven innings against the Orioles. That was enough for Girardi, who decided to go with a six-man rotation... albeit not for long, as the New York Daily News says.

After this upcoming Monday's off day after the pivotal weekend series in Boston, the Yankees are expected to revert back to a five-man rotation, and Hughes might be the odd man out in favor of Nova.

"Competition is a good thing," Girardi said. "I think it brings out the best in people so, I think they’re both working hard, going about their business, approaching the games the way they need to approach it.”

Hughes' struggles this year have been well-documented; he turned from an elite setup man in 2009 to a solid starter last season with a 4.31 ERA in 176 1/3 innings. This year, however, the 25-year-old was beyond bombed in his first three starts with decreased velocity on his fastball, running up a 13.94 ERA before he was stuck on the disabled list with a phantom injury to figure things out.

Hughes' velocity recovered and he has made four starts since. While one was a whitewashing, the other three have been solid enough, giving him an overall 5.48 mark since his return. That's not near enough to justify holding onto his spot, not when Hughes could become a big part of the bullpen moving forward. The Tuesday start should have a major influence on the decision, but Girardi noted Hughes' experience in the bullpen when discussing the issue.

“Let’s see how it goes through doing what we’re doing here," Girardi said. "See how the guys are throwing, and let’s see what our needs are. I don’t think one thing’s going to determine, but you’ve got to look at what your needs are, who’s throwing the ball well and what we need to do. ... If they both throw the ball the way we want them to, then decisions will have to be difficult on what we do."

Nova is expected to draw the ball on Thursday and put forth his own bid for remaining in the rotation.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 21, 2011 11:52 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 19, 2011 6:35 am
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Since: Oct 26, 2009
Posted on: August 3, 2011 7:46 am

Hughes could lose rotation spot with Yankees

the only thing that could screw all this up would be if Hughes does something like pitch 6 innings of shut out, 3 hit, ball, with a fastball at 95. What if that happened?

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: August 2, 2011 4:59 pm

Hughes could lose rotation spot with Yankees

6 man rotation you say ... that's LESS STARTS for CC  and more starts for the other scrubs.   Sounds great!  Laughing

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: August 2, 2011 4:50 pm

Hughes could lose rotation spot with Yankees

Six man rotation will NOT cut it for the yanks, especially when only one of them can reliably give you more than six innings...


Bartolo Colon: 109 IP, 3.30 ERA, 1.23 WHIP (Averages over 6 innings per start)
Freddy Garcia: 117 IP, 3.20 ERA, 1.30 WHIP (Averages over 6 innings per start)

I think two starters fit the bill besides CC as being "reliable".

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: August 2, 2011 4:25 pm

Hughes could lose rotation spot with Yankees

The Yankees have a great problem to have; they lead the AL in ERA+ and have 6 starters with only 5 spots to fill.

With Bartolo Colon & Freddy Garcia both on pace to pitch around 180-200 innings this season, I have no problem switching to a 6-man rotation for a few weeks during August/September. But the real issue to two-fold, first they want to keep C.C. rolling and he needs innings to do so. The man eats innings faster than cheeseburgers, and boy does he love his cheeseburgers. Sabathia might be the best Yankees pitcher since Ron Guidry. Second they want to keep Ivan Nova progressing. To do so he needs consistant starts (in the majors or AAA) and further polishing. If he can stay in the rotation for the remainder of the season and get his innings in, then I am all for having Nova on the ballclub for the remainder of the season, but they can't play with him like they did Hughes & Joba. Its gotta be all or nothing. 

So here is the verdict: if the Yankees are ready to start Nova every 5th day, then make him a permanent fixture in the rotation and keep his progression as a STARTER moving along. If the Yankees are on the fence and try and flip-flop Nova into bullpen work, then stick with Phil Hughes and ride him out. When you move to a 6-man rotation, call up Nova for the start then move him down.

So, not trusting how the Yankees handle young pitchers, I say we go against all of our instincts and stick with Phil Hughes. Hughes was kinda ok his last start (you don't have to be Whitey Ford to pitch in the 5th spot for the Yankees, a pulse will due), but the Yankees just can't give up on him again. Bullpen, starter, bullpen, starter, bullpen, where does it end? The Yankees need Hughes for a rotation spot next season and if he is ever gonna get outta this funk, then now is the time to test it. With our lead what do we have to lose?

Since: Feb 15, 2010
Posted on: August 2, 2011 3:11 pm

Hughes could lose rotation spot with Yankees

Phil Hughesless is obviously a 2 inning guy. His arm loses velocity after a few innings. He was lights out in the pen in 2009, go with his strength and keep him there. Samething with Joba, they screwed him up. If you have a good thing going then don't change it. Go with what you have, it isn't spectacular but it's better then having Hughesless and Burnout in the same rotation:

1 Sabathia
2 Colon
3 Garcia
4 Nova
5 Burnett

All egos aside, that should be their rotation with what they have.

CL: Rivera
SU: Robertson

Hugheless mid-relief

(When Joba returns next year, he is your 7th inning man unless Soriano comes back to life)

Since: May 14, 2008
Posted on: August 2, 2011 1:56 pm

Hughes could lose rotation spot with Yankees

Yeah, I don't mind giving guys chances, but enough is enough, and you don't need to do a six-man rotation to give guys chances. I'd rather Girardi skip someone. While Colon and Garcia have been serviceable, and good enough to win with the Yanks high-powered offense, you absolutely need to have CC start as many games as you can while behind the Red Sox in the pennant race. 

Six man rotation will NOT cut it for the yanks, especially when only one of them can reliably give you more than six innings. Try hughes in the bullpen and if that doesnt work, send him back down.

Rather have a stronger bullpen that you can use to mix and match in tough games, especially playoff games, rather than more starters than we need.  

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: August 2, 2011 12:52 pm

Hughes could lose rotation spot with Yankees

This decision is all but made: Nova in rotation, Hughes to pen. Probably the worst thing tonight would be for Hughes to throw an impossibly terrific game, producing the illusion that he's returned to early 2009 form: that's not gonna happen until he's with Minnesota or LAA (i.e., some team that's not in the Big Apple with a decent pitching coach).  I'm sorry Yanks didn't pick up more starting pitching, but then you have to respect Cash's thinking on that given the market.  If this team makes the playoffs and, especially, if it makes any kind of run in the playoffs, it will be actually amazing and kind of fun to watch.

Since: Jul 12, 2007
Posted on: August 2, 2011 12:41 pm

Hughes could lose rotation spot with Yankees

Hughes is not the answer to the Yanks pitching problems. He had a terrible second half last year and has gone down hill ever since. Cashman has dropped the ball in not being able to pickup a #2 Starter. AJ Burnett is also not the answer. He was overrated and overpaid when Cashman picked him up. Since Hughes had this imagined injury, which no one could pin-point, I would never have confidence in him as a starter. Put him back in the bullpen and see if he can thrive there as he did before. Girardi needs to get his head where it belongs, and quit losing games by giving guys third and fourth chances to prove themselves. I am a Yankee fan and it is digusting that the team only has one certified starter in CC. Without CC the Yanks would be in fourth or fifth place in their division. HELP!

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