Phil Hughes looks like he is very close to completing his return to the Yankees.
Ivan Nova was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, and reliever Lance Pendleton was called back up to fill out the roster.
Hughes will likely be added early next week, and will take Nova’s spot in the rotation, which would make Wednesday’s game in Cleveland his first start back.
Hughes has made three rehab starts on his way back to the big league club, with his most recent being his best, pitching into the seventh inning while striking out 8 with just 88 pitches last Tuesday.
His velocity, which was the main problem that landed him on the DL back on April 19, is back in the 91-93MPH range and he seems ready to come back.
As for Nova, he gave the Yankees everything they could have asked for, going 8-4 with a 4.12 ERA.
Several factors were working against him here, the main one being that he still had options left for him to be sent down to the minors without going through waivers, and the fact that Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon have pitched so well.
Also, his stuff really doesn’t translate that well to the bullpen and it’s doubtful the Yankees would want to make that move anyways, considering they might need him again and thus better to keep him stretched out in the starting rotation at Triple-A.
Nova’s performance this season will not be forgotten, and at just 24 years old, his future is bright.