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Friday, April 5, 2013
Phil Hughes to start Saturday

By Wallace Matthews
ESPNNewYork.com

DETROIT -- Having lost three out of their first four games and with a team ERA of 6.43, the New York Yankees are recalling right-hander Phil Hughes from the disabled list to start Saturday's game against the Detroit Tigers.

Hughes, on the DL due to a bulging disk in his upper back, had been slated to start Saturday for the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, but was scratched Friday night. General manager Brian Cashman confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com via text message that Hughes would join the team in Detroit on Saturday.

The Yankees lost to the Tigers 8-3 on Friday, with another subpar performance out of a starting pitcher. Ivan Nova allowed four runs and failed to last five innings.

In the Yankees' first four games, only 40-year-old Andy Pettitte has enjoyed success among the starting pitchers, pitching eight innings of one-run ball against the Boston Red Sox in Thursday's 4-2 victory.

Ace CC Sabathia took the Opening Day loss, allowing four runs in five innings, and Hiroki Kuroda had to leave Wednesday's game in the second inning after being clipped on his pitching hand by a line drive. The ERA of the Yankees' starting staff is 5.21; it has allowed 25 hits and eight walks in 19 innings.

Hughes did not pitch to major league hitters in spring training, having suffered back pain during a fielding drill Feb. 18. He was shut down two days later and spent the next two weeks rehabbing in a pool before he was allowed to pick up a ball again.

Since then, Hughes threw some live batting practice, a couple of simulated games against teammates on a back field at the Yankees' training complex in Tampa, and made two appearances in extended spring training games against minor leaguers. The most recent was Monday, when he worked seven innings. His start for Scranton would have been his first in a real minor league game.

Hughes will take over a start originally scheduled to go to David Phelps. He will face Max Scherzer, who was 16-7 with a 3.74 ERA last season and was the winning pitcher in Game 4 of the 2012 AL Championship Series, completing a Tigers sweep of the Yankees.

Hughes is 5-4 with a 4.22 ERA in eight career starts against the Tigers.