First Pitch: Hughes, Kennedy together again

August, 4, 2013
8/04/13
6:00
AM ET
Hughes-KennedyUSA TODAY SportsPhil Hughes and Ian Kennedy have remained good friends through the years.
SAN DIEGO -- They were supposed to be the Yankees' 1-2 punch of the future, but now, one of them was expected to be an ex-Yankee last week, and the other was just traded away at the deadline for a 31-year-old journeyman left-hander.

Still, fate brings Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy together this afternoon at Petco Park, Hughes still (barely) a Yankee and Kennedy, who won 21 games two years ago for the Arizona Diamondbacks, making his first start for the Padres, who acquired him in exchange for Joe Thatcher, with an 8-11 career record in middle relief, on Wednesday.

Hughes and Kennedy are former roommates and have remained good friends through the years even as their fortunes and career paths have diverged. “This just happens to be someone I know pretty well and played with before," Hughes said. "So it should be fun. It will add a different dynamic to the game."

Hughes, who is struggling through a 4-9 season so far, was considered likely trade bait last week as well. He survived the deadline but there is still a chance he could be traded this month if he clears waivers, and it is widely assumed he will not be a Yankee next season after he enters the free-agent market this fall. A fly ball pitcher who gives up a lot of home runs, Hughes has never been a good fit at Yankee Stadium, a hitter's paradise. But away from the Bronx, he has been a different pitcher -- he is 3-2 with a 3.02 ERA on the road, 1-7 with a 6.02 at Yankee Stadium -- and there is no doubt a team or two that plays in a pitcher's park would love to have him.

But for about 10 more starts, Yankees fans will get to see the pitcher the Yankees expected so much more from, and for one day, they will get a chance to see the two young right-handers who were supposed to carry the club into the next generation.

“It is kind of interesting; when we had them both here in 2008 and they were both in our rotation, that’s not what you expect to see, them matching up five years later,” Joe Girardi said. “Somebody said we have to make sure we get Joba [Chamberlain] in that game, too. Maybe there will be some innings limits tomorrow.”

QUESTION: Yeah, it's 20/20 hindsight, but did the Yankees make the wrong decision when they let Kennedy get away and held onto Hughes and Joba? Let us know.

UP NOW: All the news from Trenton on Alex Rodriguez's last day as a member of the Thunder, and possibly, last day as a professional ballplayer, from Andrew Marchand and Matt Ehalt. Also, Ian O'Connor's column on what would be the fairest punishment Bud Selig could mete out. I've got the Rapid Reaction from yesterday's 3-0 win, as well as a blog on Ivan Nova, who has leapfrogged to the No. 2 spot in the Yankees' rotation, as well as the postgame notes and the disturbing story of the latest injury that will keep Derek Jeter off the field at least for a couple of days.

ON DECK: The series finale, Hughes (4-9, 4.58) and Kennedy (3-8, 5.23 w/Arizona), first pitch at 4:10 p.m. Clubhouse opens at 1 p.m. today and I'll have the lineups and the pregame news, including the latest on Jeter, shortly thereafter, so start checking in around lunchtime. And as always, thanks for reading.
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.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146