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Tuesday, August 27, 2013
First Pitch: Who should replace Hughes?

By Wallace Matthews

David Huff
The best option to replace Phil Hughes in the Yanks' rotation? Would you believe it's David Huff?
TORONTO -- It no longer seems like a question of will the Yankees replace Phil Hughes in the rotation, or even of when.

The only question now is, with whom?

Joe Girardi's lukewarm vote of confidence -- "Right now, he's in our rotation" -- after Hughes again failed to go five innings in Monday night's 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays seems to indicate that the next time his turn comes up, someone else will be taking it.

But who?

Right now, the strongest candidate seems to be David Huff, a lefty who worked the final 3 1/3 innings of Monday's game, holding the Jays hitless and striking out five of the 11 batters he faced. He also threw five innings of one-hit ball against the Jays in relief of Adam Warren on Aug. 21.

Warren, of course, is another candidate, but he hasn't gone more than four innings since June 13.

On the same night Hughes was flaming out in Toronto, Brett Marshall was pitching a gem in Triple-A, allowing just two hits over seven innings and striking out nine for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders over the Pawtucket Red Sox in a game that was eventually blown by the bullpen in the bottom of the ninth. But overall, Marshall has not been great this season, with a 7-10 record and a 5.13 ERA. The ace of that staff is Chris Bootcheck (9-7, 3.71), but he failed miserably in a brief stay with the Yankees earlier this season.

And of course, there is always Joba Chamberlain, who is just dying to be a starter again.

Not a lot of choices, I admit, but a change has got to be made.

QUESTION: So who should it be? Huff? Warren? Marshall? Bootcheck? Joba? Chien-Ming Wang, just DFA-ed by Toronto? Someone I haven't even thought of? Let us know in the comments section, or via my Twitter feed, @ESPNNYankees.

UP NOW: My column on a move the Yankees need to do if they want to play in October, as well as postgame notes on Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Ichiro Suzuki.

ON DECK: Game 2 of this three-game series, and the Yankees need a strong performance out of Andy Pettitte (9-9, 4.26), facing LHP J.A. Happ (3-3, 5.10), first pitch at the very Canadian time of 7:07 p.m. The clubhouse opens at 3:37 p.m., and I'll be there with the lineup and all the pregame news, so check in this afternoon. And as always, thanks for making ESPNNewYork.com your favourite -- you see what I did there? -- source of Yankees news.