UPDATE: The Yankees are pushing Hughes back a day and going with Andy Pettitte instead. Which, OK, if you think a day of rest will cure everything that ails Hughes.
4:16 PM: Phil Hughes last pitched on Monday and, after accounting for the Yankees off-day, would be scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Orioles. But not so fast:
Holding him out would be the acknowledgement that Hughes simply hasn’t been getting the job done. He has failed to complete six innings in six of his ten post-All-Star break starts. Heck, five of those didn’t even go five innings. In that time he has complied a 1-6 record with a 5.05 ERA and has given up 61 hits in 51 and two-thirds innings.
The Yankees might have been closer to playoff contention if half their roster wasn’t injured for the bulk of this season. But not punting a start most times Hughes took a turn would have been helpful too.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.