Phil Hughes (4-13, 5.07 ERA) has been restored to the Yankees rotation after missing one turn, but he’s still on a short leash. He was pulled at the first sign of trouble in a 50 pitch, three-plus innings start at Baltimore on Thursday. He is on the mound against J.A. Happ (4-6, 5.15 ERA) who allowed four runs on six hits and two walks during his last start against the Angels. He once again struggled with a high pitch count and was unable to make it out of the fifth inning for the third time in his past four outings. Happ has not been effective against the Yankees this season, going 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA over three starts.
If Hughes gets into trouble Joe Girardi could use the same tactic as his last start, putting David Huff in tandem with Hughes. That strategy earned the Yankees a victory on Thursday, as Hughes gave up one run over three innings and Huff gave up one more over three innings of his own in a 6-5 win over the Orioles. “After having not pitched a lot in the last couple of weeks, command was my biggest concern,” Hughes said on Thursday. “It was pretty good. I didn’t walk anybody and I was throwing a lot of strikes, so I was happy with that.”
The Yankees should continue to have Alex Rodriguez‘s bat in the lineup during their series with the Blue Jays and for the rest of the season, but they might not be able to play him at third base for a while. He injured his left hamstring in Baltimore last week and had to be removed from Sunday night’s game against the Red Sox after feeling tightness in his right calf. Girardi said Rodriguez would continue to see playing time as the designated hitter, but that he likely won’t play the field on the Rogers Centre turf.
Rodriguez went 0-4 with two strikeouts against the Blue Jays on Tuesday. For the season, he is batting .275 with six home runs and 14 RBIs. “I feel like if he can play, he can be productive,” Girardi said. “I don’t know how much we will get out of him in the field. But I still think that if he feels like he can swing the bat, he can be productive.”
First pitch at 7:05 PM on Yes