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)