Phil Hughes Situation Makes Uncertain Yankees Staff Even More Questionable


Our weekly look at each of the Red Sox' opponents in the AL East surveys the New York Yankees, whose offseason rotation concerns have become in-season rotation concerns.

The Yankees entered the year with what most observers figured to be three question marks in their starting rotation. One was the inconsistent A.J. Burnett, coming off a down year. Another was the talented but unproven Ivan Nova. Finally, what would Freddy Garcia be able to give the team?

The two certainties, in the eyes of many, were staff ace CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes, the young right-hander coming off an 18-win season. While Sabathia has been just fine, Hughes has been a disaster.

Before being placed on the 15-day disabled list with right arm fatigue, Hughes had given up 16 runs in just 10 1/3 innings. And there was no amount of misfortune — his pitches were simply flat, slow and poorly placed.

The DL move was not due to any specific injury. Hughes has begun a strengthening program to try to rediscover some semblance of velocity on his fastball. He has thus far struggled to keep his heater above 90 mph, when he can even hit that.

The guys involved in those preseason questions will have their ups and downs. If Hughes remains a negative himself, though, this rotation will be scrambling all season.

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