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Monday, September 2, 2013
Girardi on Hughes: 'We need him'

By Mike Mazzeo

NEW YORK -- How bad has Phil Hughes been this season?

Let’s look at the numbers:

W-L: 4-13

ERA: 4.91 (fourth-worst in AL)

HR: 23 (ninth-most in AL)

BAA: .286 (fourth-worst in AL)

IP: 135.2

H: 152

The 27-year-old right-hander was pushed back in the rotation so that he could face the lowly Chicago White Sox (56-79) on Monday afternoon.

“We need him to compete,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “That’s all we expect from all of our starters when they go out there is to compete and give us everything they have. And if we need to make a change, we’ll make a change.”

Girardi said he’d like to see Hughes have some quick innings and get some early outs. He hasn’t been able to do either very often this season, struggling to put away hitters when he gets ahead in the count.

Batters have particularly enjoyed seeing Hughes throw fastballs. According to FanGraphs, they are hitting .324 with 15 home runs in 312 at-bats against Hughes’ heater.

“You can talk about replacing him [in the rotation], but two of the guys you possibly would replace him with are injured -- David Phelps and Michael Pineda -- so he has to get it done, and we expect him to get it done,” Girardi said.

Phelps (forearm strain) is playing catch, Girardi said, but with just a month left in the season, it appears unlikely that he returns. Girardi said long reliever David Huff is available despite pitching in Sunday’s game.