After last season it was hard to imagine Phil Hughes would get a chance to pitch in the rotation if the Yankees had other options. However, after a strong spring and an injury to Michael Pineda there was really no questioning if he deserved a chance or not.
His first start this season wasn’t amazing, he made a mistake that Carlos Pena hit out and he didn’t go very deep into the game, but overall it was pretty solid.
“I thought it was a pretty positive outing,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Chad Jennings of the Journal News. “Obviously you don’t want to see 100 pitches in five innings but overall I thought it was a pretty positive outing today. We saw his velocity the whole way throughout. He threw a really good changeup. His curveball and cutter were decent. He just got into some really long counts.”
Hughes struck out five batters and got nine swings and misses which shows his fastball has much more life on it than it did last season. He also mixed in a decent number of changeups and did so effectively. If it wasn’t his first start of the season it is likely he would have gone deeper into the game. It didn’t help things that the Rays got on the board in the first inning thanks to a terrible play by Raul Ibanez.