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Sunday, July 28, 2013
Hughes hopes this wasn't farewell to Yanks

By Mike Mazzeo

Joe Girardi and Phil Hughes
Joe Girardi removed Phil Hughes from Sunday's game in the fifth inning.
NEW YORK -- Has Phil Hughes thrown his last pitch in pinstripes?

The New York Yankees right-hander, a free agent at season's end who could be dealt with Wednesday's non-waiver trade deadline fast approaching, was booed off the mound Sunday after allowing five runs on nine hits in four-plus innings.

"I'll be going home [to the Los Angeles area], which is good," Hughes said as the Yankees prepared to head to Southern California to face the Dodgers and Padres. "I'm going to relax and take my mind off things for a while, but other than that, I don't really think about the deadline or anything like that that I can't control.

"I just have to worry about what I'm going to do five days from now or six days from now, and worry about my bullpens and how I can make myself better. But other stuff is just kind of irrelevant to me."

Does Hughes expect his next start will be with the Yankees?

"I truly hope so. Yeah, that's my plan," he responded.

Hughes (4-9, 4.58 ERA) gave up a pair of home runs Sunday -- the Yankees rallied to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-5 -- and has now surrendered 20 on the season. He has failed to finish the fifth inning in seven of his starts. In his past seven starts at the Stadium, Hughes is 0-6 with a 7.86 ERA.

If they keep him, the Yankees could give Hughes a $14 million qualifying offer. They would then receive a first-round draft pick if he signed with another team.

The prevailing thought is the Yankees would receive little in a trade for Hughes, though another team could gamble and give him big money in the offseason if he makes it to free agency.

Hughes, an All-Star in 2010, was once touted as the next ace of the pitching staff. But his propensity to give up fly balls and inconsistency have plagued him throughout his Yankees career.

"I thought I was locating the ball decent today, other than the two pitches that didn't come back," Hughes said. "Mechanically, I was getting out of sync a little bit."

• The Yankees optioned infielder David Adams to Triple-A Scranton to make room for utility man Jayson Nix, who will be activated from the disabled list Tuesday.

• Sunday's victory was the Yankees' third walk-off win this season. It snapped a four-game home losing streak. ... Yankees right-handed batters had gone without a homer in the previous 28 games, dating back to June 26. Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano ended that drought. ... Yankees righties had hit just one homer in the previous 58 games (802 at-bats).