Phil Hughes hasn’t drawn any interest on the trade market and with free agency right around the corner it sounds like the Yankees are just about ready to dump him from the rotation.
Hughes failed to make it out of the fifth inning yesterday against the Blue Jays, falling to 4-13 with a 4.91 ERA on the year and 2-11 with a 5.12 ERA since back-to-back victories in May.
Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger asked Joe Girardi about Hughes’ status in the rotation and the manager replied: “We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes.” McCullough also writes that pitching coach Larry Rothschild “sounded weary discussing the situation” and the unsuccessful efforts he’s made to get Hughes to repeat his delivery consistently.
David Huff or Adam Warren could replace Hughes in the rotation and it’s possible that the Yankees could then shift Hughes back into the bullpen role he filled very well in 2009, but that was a long time and an awful lot of poor starts ago. It’d be pretty shocking to see the Yankees trust Hughes in high-leverage relief spots down the stretch. He’s headed to free agency with his value at an all-time low.
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.
Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.