Last season was a train wreck of a season for Phil Hughes and if the Yankees rotation were based solely on last year’s stats he would be on the outside looking in. However, he has impressed the Yankees so much this spring that a source told Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News that, “it would be a shock” if he wasn’t in the rotation to start the season.
If this is true it really doesn’t come as much of a shock. Despite having weak stuff last season Brian Cashman has always stood by Hughes almost to the point of looking delusional. Hughes also put in a lot of work this offseason to get off to a solid start after showing up to spring training out of shape a year ago.
Joel Sherman of the NY Post even wrote back on Feb. 28 that based on discussions he had with members of the team that Hughes had all but had a rotation spot locked up way back then. After an impressive spring where his fastball has been in the mid-90’s with life on it, he made the decision for the team to stick with him even easier.
This means that there are just two rotation spots open and Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, and Freddy Garcia left to fill them. Joe Girardi said that he will take track record, how guys are throwing this spring, and the future of the organization into account when making his final rotation decisions. He also made a point to say that he doesn’t care who fits the bullpen best. Read into that however you see fit, but most see Garcia as the odd man out.
Girardi also said no to a 6-man rotation and of course, Andy Pettitte will get a rotation spot as soon as he is ready – which should be around May 1st. That means that unless there is an injury, he will bump somebody from the rotation so nobody should get comfortable even if they get a rotation spot.