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Phil Hughes strikes out seven in first rehab start

Jun 19, 2011, 7:57 PM EDT

Phil Hughes AP

Phil Hughes, who has been on the disabled list for two months with shoulder inflammation, allowed one run in 4 1/3innings and fanned seven Sunday for short-season Single-A Staten Island in his first rehab start.

According to ESPNNewYork.com, Hughes was consistently at 92-93 mph with his fastball and touched 95 mph in the outing, which is great news for the Yankees.  Hughes was in the 88-91 mph range while getting lit up in three starts before landing on the disbaled list.

Hughes gave up three hits and walked one today.  His last pitch was taken out of the park for a homer from catcher Nelfi Zapata, but everything prior to that was encouraging.

Hughes threw 61 pitches in all.  He’s expected to make at least three more rehab starts before rejoining the Yankees next month.  Although the Bombers have lost both Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain to injuries, they have every intention of bringing Hughes back as a starting pitcher.

  1. uyf1950 - Jun 20, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    Great news doesn’t begin to do it justice. If it continues it will be fantastic news. That’s just my opinion.

    • pisano - Jun 20, 2011 at 12:12 AM

      I totally agree partner, I’m just hoping he can hold up and the worst is behind him. He could be that trade the Yankees have yet to make. The pitching has been better than anyone could have hoped for, especially the bullpen, best era in the AL.Imagine how good that pen would have been without all the injuries. Hoping for a speedy return for Hughes.

  2. bigharold - Jun 20, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    I understand the desire to get Hughes back into the rotation. But, assuming Colon comes off the DL at the same time or even before and is doing as well as he was before the DL, … the Yankees are going to put Colon in the pen? And, no consideration is given to how good Hughes was coming out of the pen for the Yankees last season.

    I get it, long term the Yankees want Hughes in the rotation but the realties are that they are trying to win this season. And these two objectives aren’t mutually exclusive. If anything there could be an argument made that the Yankees have gone too far trying to protect young pitchers, to their determent. There should be the possibility that Hughes might go to the pen because it night best help the club, … and him as well.

    • uyf1950 - Jun 20, 2011 at 11:28 AM

      Why would you assume it would be Colon that might go to the pen when or if both he and Hughes are available for the rotation. I think it’s far more likely that Nova goes to the pen again when or if both Hughes and Colon are available. Nova has by far been the weakest link in the Yankees starting rotation since Hughes went down. That plus the fact that Nova for the most part has only been good for 4 or 5 innings before getting into trouble. He seems much better suited for the “long relief” roll now then the starter roll. That’s just my opinion.

      • bigharold - Jun 20, 2011 at 11:43 AM

        “Why would you assume it would be Colon that might go to the pen …’

        Because the pen is where Colon started the season despute having a better ST than Hughes or Nova. And, actually Hughes was the weakest starter in the rotation which is the reason he was taken out of the rotation.

      • uyf1950 - Jun 20, 2011 at 12:02 PM

        My friend, Hughes was taken out of the rotation and put on the DL because he was injured. Assuming his injury was diagnosed properly and his rehab starts go well he will be in the starting rotation. Colon, started the season in the bullpen because the Yankees thought the rotation was better with Nova and Garcia filling the back end and because Colon hadn’t pitched in over a year and even before that it was sparingly. They had I’m sure hopes that Nova would eventually be able to get past the 5th or 6th innings. That obviously has not been the case. Colon has proven he can start before he went down his strikeout to walk ratio was great, he had an ERA in the very low 3’s and more often then not gave the Yankees quality starts. If Hughes does go to the pen it will be for just 1 or 2 appearances to get his feet wet so to speak. In my opinion assuming both Hughes and Colon are healthy and Nova are available to start games when only 2 are needed Nova will be the odd man out of the starting rotation. At least that’s my opinion.

  3. deathmonkey41 - Jun 20, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    bigharold – Jun 20, 2011 at 11:43 AM
    “Why would you assume it would be Colon that might go to the pen …’

    “Because the pen is where Colon started the season despute having a better ST than Hughes or Nova. And, actually Hughes was the weakest starter in the rotation which is the reason he was taken out of the rotation.”

    You didn’t read his entire post:

    Nova has by far been the weakest link in the Yankees starting rotation SINCE Hughes went down

    • uyf1950 - Jun 20, 2011 at 12:30 PM

      Thank you.

  4. bigharold - Jun 20, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    I read it but the point was and STILL IS that Colon had a better SP than either Hughes or Nova and that didn’t matter then. So, what makes anybody sure that Colon is not going back to the pen? Neither of you have bothered to address that.

    Why would anyone assume that they are going to mess with Nova now when they can expect acceptable and, at least, predictable performance? On the chance that Hughes will hit the ground running and be better than Nova? That he put his poor performance, injury related or otherwise behind him. Also, there is no certainty that Nova can contribute coming out of the pen. Colon did work effectively out of the pen, which is why he went there in the first place instead of Garcia becaue he had a better ST than Garcia too. And, Hughes has in fact excelled coming out of the pen in 2009 so it would be easy to draw the conclusion that he would excel there again.

    In the middle of a pennant race is not the time to see if Hughes can return to form as a starter. And, remember, the form we are talking about was the first half of last year, not the entire year. He spiraled down at the end of last season. It’s not as if he has some great body of work that compels the Yankees to automatically plug him in as a starter.

    In the long run I see Hughes as a Yankee starter but I also think that it’s sink or swim time with him. He should have to earn his way back into the rotation, .. it shouldn’t be handed to him.

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