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Sunday, April 28, 2013
Pregame notes: Game plan vs. R.A. Dickey

By Andrew Marchand

The Yankees will face 2012 NL Cy Young award winner and ex-Met R.A. Dickey on Sunday. Despite being just 2-3 with a 4.66 ERA, Dickey presents a unique challenge because of his knuckleball.

Joe Girardi thinks the most important aspects in approaching the knuckler is to look for the ball up and not try to do too much with it.

"I've heard people say, 'Down low, let it go. If it is high, let it fly,'" Girardi said. "The other thing is, I don't think you can go up there with a plan that, 'I'm going to look for one pitch, to pull the ball and hit in the seats.' I think you have to stay up the middle a little bit."

Not many Yankees have a lot of at-bats against Dickey. Vernon Wells has a .538 average (7-for-13), while Robinson Cano has three hits in 10 at-bats vs. the highly publicized pitcher.

HUGHES IMPROVING?: After missing so much time with his spring training bulging disk in his back, Phil Hughes has gotten better from his first start to his fourth. After going seven innings in his first two starts combined, Hughes has pitched seven innings in each of his last two starts, allowing just two runs in each.

Why?

"It could just be the innings under his belt," Girardi said. "I thought his last start he mixed his pitchers better than he had in the previous starts. Maybe he is getting more of a feel for his curveball, slider and changeup."

Hughes is on the mound Sunday for the Yankees.