Yankees sound ready to dump Phil Hughes from rotation

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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.

Ketel Marte shut down with back injury

Ketel Marte
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With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.

It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.

Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.

Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.