What Should The New York Yankees Do With Phil Hughes? What Should The New York Yankees Do With Phil Hughes? What Should The New York Yankees Do With Phil Hughes?

What Should The New York Yankees Do With Phil Hughes?

New York Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes has been on the DL for the majority of the 2011 season.

Everything from Thoratic Outlet Syndrome to being over-worked to having a dead arm was speculated as the reason for the 24-year-olds drop in velocity.

After numerous tests and really no definitive answers, Hughes was put on the 60-day DL and on a throwing program targeting to build up his arm strength.

Hughes is throwing bullpen sessions and is expected to face live batters shortly; and according to a tweet from Marc Craig of the Star Ledger skipper Joe Girardi stated that Hughes could return prior to the All-Star break.

So, what am I getting at?

Filling in for Hughes has been veteran Bartolo Colon, whom baseball fans have witnessed do a stellar job.

Colon is not leaving the rotation, as he just through a complete game against the Oakland A’s and is becoming a solid and reliable starter that the Yankees now lean on.

Without question Hughes is not going to de-thrown Colon, nor should he knock out Freddy Garcia or Ivan Nova.

Hughes was never that great of a starter even in his heyday at the start of 2010. He got a ton of run support during his All-Star run, but we watched him slowly fall post All-Star break and then completely collapse earlier this season.

The Yankees cannot afford to give Hughes a few ‘test’ starts because the AL East is the most competitive it has ever been and that means avoiding losses.

I like Hughes, but it is hard to forget his three starts this season, where he went 0-1, posting a 13.94 ERA, giving up four home-runs, 16 earned runs and that was in just 10 innings pitched. He never made it through four innings and batters were feasting in every pitch.

So, what is my Hughes solution?

Any Yankee fan should know Hughes was most productive coming out of the bullpen.

It was pitching relief in 2009 that Hughes’ velocity spiked and where he seemed to be the most confident. There is no reason not to toss him in there again, as he has to earn a spot again because Colon, Nova and Garcia all deserve to be in the rotation.

Maybe some might think Nova could use some more fine-tuning and I do not disagree, but he is better than Hughes and has displayed it from the get-go in comparison.

This season Hughes should stay out of the rotation at all costs.

If the bullpen is doing well and there is no room than why not keep Hughes down in the minors?

There is nothing outrageous or wrong with Hughes being able to pitch every five days and really get the hang of it again without the pressures that comes with pitching in the bigs. To be fair, in Hughes’ short career he does not deserve an anticipated entry right back to the Bronx.

The problem was really serious and enough so that it affected the entire team, which is not fair to either parties involved.

My worry is that Girardi will pull a ‘Mitre’ (yes, Sergio) with Hughes, as he has been known to be way to generous regarding giving players chances in the past.

It might sound severe and it is; but this season allows for zero breathing room. If the AL divisions continue to be neck and neck for the rest of the season, the wildcard might not come out of the AL East like it has in the past.

Hey, unless the Yankees are suddenly okay with not putting the best possible team on the field everyday, which would be against everything the franchise stands for.

This is not declaring that Hughes future as a starter is said and done.

The main issue I have is his track record reveals a lot more issues than not; and that has to be scrutinized regarding this season without question.

Hughes is not going to be a difference maker, as he has too much to prove yet and the time is not now.


  • Four-hitter shows Yanks can blank on vet (nypost.com)
  • A.J., Phil linchpins in Yanks’ rotation (nypost.com)
  • DL trumped Triple-A for Hughes (nypost.com)
  • Sore toe keeps Martin sidelined (nypost.com)
  • New York Yankees: 2011 Pitching Rotation Is All Set (ladylovespinstripes.com)
  • New York Yankees: The Phil Hughes Solution (ladylovespinstripes.com)
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  1. Uncle Mike says:

    A simple rule in sports is that no one should ever lose his job due to injury. And before you tell me "Wally Pipp," he was in a major slump when he was replaced with Gehrig, and later got that beaning — this has been well-documented.

    True, Drew Bledsoe lost his job to Tom Brady, but that replacement was made by Bill Belichick. Joe Girardi is not Bill Belichick. He is a man.

    Phil Hughes should get his job back, because when healthy he is a pitcher that was worth not trading for the incredibly overrated (in part because he's even more oft-injured) Johan Santana. Let Ivan Nova, who has not yet proven his worth, fight for his place.

    • Kate says:

      Hughes needs to change his mentality and add another pitch because when he came up to the bigs he was not nearly as effective as Nova.

      Hughes got sent to the bullpen in 2009 and that was when he was effective.

      In 2008, his first legit season, batters were hitting .314 against him before he got injured…but he stunk in those eight starts. It makes the first two months of 2010 seem like a fluke.

      I think Joba has the fastball to be a starter more than Hughes, who relies on that pitch so much that if it is not mid-90's he is screwed.

      Nova is doing much better in his first season than Hughes has done ever…and Nova won his spot far and square out of Spring Training. Colon was subbing for Hughes and he is not going anywhere. Nova is improving and Hughes has to change his style to be like a Mussina-type.

      This season the Yankees cannot afford to put a pitcher in who is going to wear out the bullpen after three innings and leave it up to the hitters to make up for the 7 or 8 runs he allowed.

      Hughes has to get comfortable again and that should be done in the minors….I would rather have Manny Banuelos come up. I have NO confidence in Hughes as a starter, out of the bullpen he was effective and proved himself. That is it. He could ruin the season….because just imagine if Colon had been in the rotation from the get-go, three games the Yankees could have won or at least had a chance. Instead we got to watch Hughes implode over and over.

      • tjr says:

        I guess you forgot that Hughes was close to throwing a no-hitting in Texas the day he was injured fielding a weak come-backer to the mound… after that he was put in the pen to limit innings and stay ready for the play-offs. He did so well in the pen he could not get out as there was no one dependable enough to replace him. I get it, you're trying to make your point but come-on…

        • Kate says:

          That was his longest start against Texas in 2009…..and the team scored 11 runs and it was not a no hit, he went eight innings.

          Going into that Texas games Hughes had made five starts and posted a 7.06 ERA, giving up six home-runs, 17 earned runs, 29 hits over 21 innings in total. Those numbers are not stellar…two of those starts were against the 09' Orioles who stunk.

          Hughes went to the bullpen b/c the Yankees wanted to keep Joba in the rotation and the pressure was completely on Joba, so Hughes could just come out a throw hard.

          I am not saying Hughes is not a talented starting pitcher, but I think he needs to add another pitch and work on his location, not on how hard he can throw his fastball. I don't think he will be affective until he does.

  2. d-mets says:

    I disagree with you Mike as Hughes was never that good. Kate is right with the high run support he got.

  3. PinstripeLifer says:

    More than one source reports that Girardi is less than thrilled over Ivan Nova's peformance…especially Saturday's game. My bet as well as my opinion would be to send Nova down for some more polishing and put Phil back in the rotation where he gets the chance to put a few W's up. The team likes playing with Phil pitching,hence the run support and he deserves a chance to have his spot back …especially after his win total last year. Try to win 18 in the bigs…it ain't easy!!!

    • Kate says:

      I would rather see one of the youngsters come up and see how they do….Neosi or even Banuelous, which is a long shot but I have been watching this kid for a while and he could be an ace down the road.

  4. Matt says:

    I'm with you on this one Kate. Like someone above mentioned, you hate to see someone lose their spot due to an injury, but in the interest of fielding the best possible team every day, Hughes just doesn't work as a starter. At least right now..

  5. Frank Spero says:

    i agree with mike that said send nova down and leave him down what are they gouing to do save those new guys forever give them a try and leave joba the hell alone you screwed him up once already trying to make him a starter don't you jerks ever learn he's just starting to come back as set up man

  6. Henry says:

    Amazing! Let me simplify this. Hughs has the stuff to be a starter if healthy. Joba has the stuff to be a starter if healthy. These statements are both true. The yankees handled Joba poorly by bringing him up to soon. Hughs in truth could have been a solid starter were it not been for that injury in 09. Last year Hughs had a great year for his first year as a starter. I would put him in the minors and make sure he is ready to get his starting job back then bring him back as a starter. If their is a problem I would maybe put him in the pen. I blame the yankees for Joba and Hughs.

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  8. Reed says:

    Phil Hughes deserves to get his spot back. Girardi already said he would go back into the rotation when he is ready to come of his rehab stint. Colon should be left in the rotation for obvious reasons. Garcia and Nova are the two pitchers who should be worried about there spots in the rotation. My guess is Nova stays in the rotation and Garcia goes to the pen. Garcia can be inserted back into the rotation if necessary. He is a veteran and can handle making spot starts better than Nova. Garcia also will not continue to pitch the way he has thus far, his career over recent years back that up. He can also replace any starter who might get hurt. Banuelos and Betences (who has been much better than Banuelos this year) are not ready this year according to almost all scouts iN the organization and outside of it. Hughes will end up as a good number 2 type starter, and if he pitches well, Cashman can use him in a trade for a number 1 type starter this off season, or if By some miracle there is a top pitcher available in July he could be used then.