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Thursday, June 27, 2013
First Pitch: Last call for Hughes?

By Kieran Darcy

NEW YORK -- It's just a weekday afternoon game in June, but Phil Hughes will be pitching under heavy pressure Thursday.

One more bad start, and Hughes may be yanked from the Yankees' rotation.

Hughes is 3-6 with a 5.09 ERA on the season, and has lost three of his four starts thus far in June. His lone win this month came against the Mariners -- the team with the lowest batting average in the American League.

In his three losses, he has failed to even get out of the fifth inning twice.

Joe Girardi certainly has other options. Ivan Nova looked pretty good in a spot start on Sunday. And Michael Pineda threw six shutout innings in a rehab start with Double-A Trenton on Tuesday.

The Yankees have the third-best team ERA in the American League. But Hughes' ERA is almost a run higher than the other four members of the rotation.

Time to step up, or step aside.

UP NOW: Wednesday was a busy day in the Bronx. The Yankees announced Mark Teixeira is out for the rest of the season, and the Alex Rodriguez saga took another turn. Ian O'Connor weighed in on A-Rod, too.

Also, the Yanks suffered a frustrating 8-5 loss.

ON DECK: The rubber game of this series, first pitch at 1:05 p.m. Derek Holland (5-4, 3.43 ERA) will start for Texas. Wallace Matthews will have you covered, along with yours truly.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How well does Hughes need to pitch to stay in the rotation?