Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hughes Pitching Himself Out of the Rotation

Phil Hughes entered the 2012 season as a question mark for the Yankees. Since his 18-8 season of 2010, Phil Hughes has struggled to become the top flight pitcher the Yankees were hoping he could become.

The Yankees pitching rotation took a hit when Michael Pineda went down with a season ending injury. The team decided to bring back fan favorite Andy Pettitte to help their rotation. With the return of Pettitte, one pitcher would be the odd man out, and be sent to the bullpen. The Yankees had to decide between Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes on who they would send to the pen. They choose to send Garcia, who has had a season to forget, to figure out his troubles in the bullpen.

Hughes has not given the Yankees a reason to keep him in the rotation, but the Yankees have given Hughes a second chance. Hughes is 4-5 this season with 49 strikeouts, 13 walks, and a 5.64 ERA. In his last start against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Angels tattooed Hughes for 11 hits, and 7 runs, both season highs, in 5.1 innings of work.

Hughes has made it passed the sixth inning just three times this season, and has pitched into the eighth inning once. With a depleted bullpen, the Yankees need quality starts out of their starting rotation, and Hughes has not delivered so far this season.

Now the question must be asked, what will the Yankees do with Phil Hughes? The bullpen seems like the easy choice, and could fix Hughes' problems, but his past bullpen performances are nothing to be excited about. During the 2009 championship run, Hughes came out of the bullpen for the Yankees. In 6.1 innings during the postseason, Hughes gave up 11 hits and 6 runs.

If the Yankees were to put Hughes on the trade block, it is unclear what they could get for him. He has not helped his value with his starts this season, and teams may be turned off by the number of home runs given up by Hughes already this season.

The Yankees have options as to what they want to do with Hughes, but what is going to help Hughes get his "mojo" back? It will be interesting to see what they decide to to with Hughes, if he cannot pick up his game and start giving the Yankees the kind of starts they expect.

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