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David Huff In, Phil Hughes Out

As the New York Yankees head into the final month of the season, Joe Girardi must make the decision that he has been putting off. There’s no way around it, if the Yankees are going to have their best chance to make the playoffs, it is time to drop Phil Hughes from the starting rotation.  

Yes, I know that his last few starts have shown a slight improvement. He has given up 12 earned runs total, but that is misleading. Those 12 runs came in only 21 innings of work. That means he was on the mound for just over five innings an outing. That doesn’t bode well for the bullpen or the post-season, when he is likely to encounter some heavy bats.

In those 21 innings, he has allowed 27 hits. His walk total is respectable at six. But that works out to 33 base runners altogether. That’s especially nerve- racking when you consider a home run ball is always lurking around the corner with Hughes. Opponents have gone yard on him 23 times this year.

So who should take his place? Pending a possible return by Michael Pineda, my vote goes to David Huff, for a number of reasons. First, Huff has had recent success. He threw 3.1 scoreless innings Monday night, holding the Blue Jays hitless with five strikeouts. In his last four appearances he has given up one earned run in 9.2 innings.

Plus, an extra left-hander in the rotation could pay dividends since the Rays, Orioles and Red Sox all have some potent left handed bats. Granted, Girardi could keep him in the bullpen to face them in critical situations, but the ineffectiveness of Hughes warrants the move. Who would you rather have out there to face David Ortiz three or four times, Hughes or Huff?

Sadly, the Hughes era with the Yankees must come to an end. He left the minor leagues with so much potential. He had wonderful years in 2009 and 2010. But there just is too little margin for error at this point. Whether it’s for Huff or Pineda, the time has come for Girardi to bring the hook for good.

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Tags: David Huff Joe Girardi Michael Pineda Phil Hughes

  • BrooklynPaulie

    Uuuuuuuh, wasn’t Michael Pineda shut down because of more shoulder issues? I agree that Phil has to go, but is David Huff stretched out enough to start? If not, your point about the bullpen being taxed with Hughes on the hill holds no water.

    • Dan Dechenaux

      Huff’s improvement has come after working with Yankee Pitching Coach Larry Rothschild. Even if he can’t “stretch it out I’d rather have Huff in there for 5 innings than Hughes. He’s gone long distance in his career. Pineda is a hope and a prayer. Cashman didn’t rule out his return. I like the Wang alternative.

  • natcol

    Not necessarily as the replacement of Hughes, but I think Chien Ming Wang deserves a second chance in Yankees. He had started in 3A this year for 109 IPs with a league leading 2.72 ERA , 1.12 WHIP. 4.5 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 are not bad for a contact type of pitcher, either.

    For your reference, David Huff had a 3.90 ERA in 92.1 innings in 3A (two teams) this year.

    After Chien-Ming Wang was DFAed yesterday, he wasted no time showing the willingness to go to 3A to finish the season there. He cherishes his long-awaited all-healthy season so much, he does not want to miss a game.

    I believe He will be willing to pitch for Scranton Rail Riders again like he did earlier this year if asked. Because there are already 5 other staring pitchers waiting to be called up in Bisons. It’s almost impossible for Blue Jays to call him up again.

    Including him in Rail Riders costs Yankees nothing. However, doing so can make Chien-Ming a viable option for Yankees pitching depth in September and beyond.

    • natcol

      David Huff as expected. Sad.

  • Hunter Farman

    The Rays demoted the 10-8 Jeremy Hellickson yesterday, but the Yankees refuse to take the 4-12 Hughes out of the rotation. Amazing.