Phil Hughes out front in fifth starter's race

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That seems to the be the consensus after last night’s game anyway, in which he blanked the Astros over four innings. It wasn’t a start — he got the four inning save — and it wasn’t really against major league hitters, but Joe Girardi and the gang were pleased with his command, the fact that he was using his changeup a lot and stuff like that.

Joba Chamberlain faces the Phillies today, and unless he dazzles, you have to wonder if his ticket to the bullpen won’t be punched by sundown.

Rafael Montero to have Tommy John surgery

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Mets pitcher Rafael Montero will undergo Tommy John surgery.

Montero felt some discomfort after his latest Grapefruit League appearance. This morning he was diagnosed with a complete tear of the UCL in his right elbow. He’ll now miss all of the 2018 season and most of the first half of the 2019 season.

Montero, 27, was once a top pitching prospect. He performed swingman duties for the Mets last year, starting in 18 games and relieving in 16. He wasn’t too successful in that role — his ERA was 5.52 in 2017 — but he was battling for a spot in the Mets’ bullpen this spring.