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First Pitch: Making something of nothing

9/18/2013

TORONTO --- Phil Hughes' career as a Yankee has actually been OK. He was instrumental as a setup man for a World Series winner in 2009. In 2010, he made an All-Star team as a starter. Overall, he is 56-49 with a 4.52 ERA.

But as we talk about the incredible end of Mariano Rivera's career, the possible finish of Andy Pettitte's and the uncertainty of Derek Jeter's future, Hughes offers another testament to that trio's greatness.

"Prospects can break your hearts," one Yankee official said when talking about Hughes recently.

This is what Hughes has done. So, at the likely end of Hughes' Yankee career, it is more about what could have been instead of all that he accomplished.

Hughes, still 27, has melted, but the Yankees are trying to make a last stand. He is not the guy they would choose to have out there. But he is all the have right now. He could salvage something out of nothing.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Yankees now trail the Rays and Rangers by 3 1/2 games. Here are the latest wild-card standings. The remaining schedule for all the wild card contenders:

New York Yankees

at Blue Jays (2)

Giants (3)

Rays (3)

at Astros (3)

Tampa Bay Rays

Rangers (2)

Orioles (4)

at Yankees (3)

at Blue Jays (3)

Cleveland Indians

at Royals (1)

Astros (4)

White Sox (2)

at Twins (4)

Baltimore Orioles

at Red Sox (2)

at Rays (4)

Blue Jays (3)

Red Sox (3)

Kansas City Royals

Indians (1)

Rangers (3)

at Mariners (3)

at White Sox (4)

UP NOW: Ian O'Connor's must-read on Mariano Rivera. Alex Rodriguez may be a DH the rest of the season. Joe Girardi says the Yankees are in must-win territory.

ON DECK: The pitching matchups:

Wednesday: Phil Hughes (4-13, 5.07) vs. J.A. Happ (4-6, 5.15)

Thursday: Hiroki Kuroda (11-11, 3.13) vs. Todd Redmond (3-2, 4.10).

IN THE HOLE: More testi-Mo-nials coming your way at noon. We will have you covered all day and night here. You can follow me on Twitter for instant updates and notes.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How long will Hughes last?