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.

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.