No decision yet on Hughes in rotation

March, 27, 2012
3/27/12
11:47
AM ET
Phil Hughes may have pitched well enough this spring to reclaim his spot in the Yankees' starting rotation, but he will have to wait a little longer to find out for sure.

General manager Brian Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com on Tuesday that "no decision has been made yet" regarding the rotation, although the official word could come later this week.

"We haven't had a meeting on our pitching yet," Cashman said. "We'll probably have that meeting on Thursday."

However, it is not a stretch to surmise that Hughes -- who has posted a 2.03 ERA in four spring starts and whose fastball, which mysteriously vanished during his horrendous 2011 season, has been clocked as high as 94 mph this spring -- would claim one of the five spots, especially since both Cashman and manager Joe Girardi have repeatedly said they view the 25-year-old righty as a starter.

Hughes' last outing was a six-inning stint against a squad of Yankee minor-leaguers on Monday in which he allowed two runs. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild and catcher Francisco Cervelli were impressed with Hughes' stuff and command.

"He's done everything we asked him to do [in the offseason]," said Rothschild, referring to Hughes' weight loss following a season in which he admittedly came to camp out of shape.

Hughes was 5-5 with a 5.79 ERA in 2011 and spent three months either on the DL as he and the Yankees struggled to find his fastball.

This spring, Hughes has been, along with Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda and Freddy Garcia, one of the four starters competing for three spots -- the first two were awarded to CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda before a pitch was thrown -- a mix that was further complicated by the return of left-hander Andy Pettitte.

Nova pitched well in his most recent outing but otherwise has had a subpar spring. Pineda has shown impressive command of his off-speed pitches but has yet to display the velocity he had as a rookie with the Seattle Mariners last year. Garcia has been his typical Steady Freddy, despite missing a start after taking a grounder off of his pitching hand earlier this spring.

But Hughes' spring has been an unqualified success. Now he's just waiting for the Yankees to make it official.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
Follow Wallace on Twitter »  Chat archive »

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.77 141 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146