Phil Hughes took the loss in relief last night against the Red Sox, giving up a run in the 10th inning after manager Joe Girardi opted not to leave Mariano Rivera in the game with a pitch count of nine.
Hughes threw only 13 pitches and said afterward that he’d be ready to make his scheduled start Tuesday, but Girardi announced that he’ll be skipped in the rotation instead.
That means either A.J. Burnett or Ivan Nova will start in his place versus the Angels despite Hughes throwing six shutout innings in his last start and six innings of two-run ball in the outing before that.
He was clearly disappointed by Girardi’s decision, telling Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York:
It is always disappointing when you are not able to start. I thought I made some good progress in my last start, so if I have to wait around that won’t be something that is fun to deal with. But, again, I don’t really make these calls or something like that.
It’s certainly a questionable move by Girardi, particularly since Hughes threw just 65 pitches in his start last week and seemingly had a chance to build some momentum heading into the stretch run. He’ll presumably stay in the rotation after the one skipped start, but the Yankees haven’t said when his next turn would be.
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.