It has been a lot of places already that Phil Hughes seems destined for the rotation. We wrote last Tuesday that Hughes looks almost as good as ever. We said last Thursday, we don't see how he is not in the rotation. That same day, Jack Curry tweeted that you should "book it" that Hughes will be a starter.
Since Hughes has come into camp looking like a different person -- slimmed down and ready to go -- it has been obvious that the Yankees wish for him to be a starter will be met. Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Wallace Matthews this morning that nothing has yet to be decided, which is the truth because the Yankees are going to wait as long as they can to see if an injury makes their decision for them.
But we all have known that Hughes looks like he is going to be one of the five survivors. All offseason, the Yankees on and off the record have said they look at Hughes as a starter. It doesn't make sense to have him in the bullpen with no vacancies from the seventh inning on; especially when the Yankees think Hughes can be an 18-game winner again.
But here is the topic to be dissected. If we go on everyone's assumption about Hughes being in, then it is three pitchers for two spots. Of the three remaining, Freddy Garcia has the best pedigree and has thrown the best in spring training. Ivan Nova was the Yankees' No. 2 playoff starter in his rookie year, but has had his difficulties this spring. Michael Pineda has not been able to consistently lift his fastball above 91 and has has been unable to keep his pitch count down.
That's the real interesting decision -- with Hughes pretty much set to join CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda -- who will be numbers four and five?