Hughes returns to majors after 12 K's in International League title game
Hughes was expected to be a key member of New York's rotation this year, but was 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in six starts before being sidelined with a stress fracture in a rib. He struck out 12 in five innings Friday night to help Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre beat Durham 20-2, clinching the International League championship.
Hughes may start Wednesday night against the Chicago White Sox.
"His season has been somewhat different because of the injury," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before New York lost 7-1 to Tampa Bay in the opener of a day-night doubleheader. "He hasn't necessarily thrown a lot of innings so we thought it was important for him to continue to pitch. There are plans for him to continue to pitch, possibly in the Fall League as well.
"But I think it was important for him to pitch the way he was capable of pitching, and he's done that down in Triple-A."
Sidney Ponson, who was pushed back to Saturday's nightcap after Friday's rainout, also could start Wednesday's game against the White Sox, but Hughes would be on regular rest.
"We're going to have to talk about what we do in that situation, but obviously he's one of the names if we decide not to bring Sidney back early that we would kick around," Girardi said.
The Yankees also recalled another right-hander, David Robertson.
Alex Rodriguez was in the original lineup for the doubleheader opener against the Rays, but the All-Star third baseman was scratched with a stiff neck. Cody Ransom got the start at third and went 0-for-4 in the seventh spot. Left fielder Xavier Nady moved from sixth to the cleanup spot to replace Rodriguez in the lineup, and went 1-for-4.
Rodriguez's status for the second game was uncertain.
"We'll see what we can do," Girardi said. "His neck was pretty stiff. He slept on it ... and there you go. He took treatment during the game. Maybe we can get him to DH."
Robertson arrived at the stadium during the first game. Hughes isn't expected to join the team until Sunday's series finale against Tampa Bay.
Girardi also didn't rule out adding Ian Kennedy to the roster after Scranton/Wilkes-Barre faces the Pacific Coast League champion Tuesday in Oklahoma City. Kennedy, another young right-hander who struggled earlier in the year, could get the start in the minor league game.
Robertson, who was sent down on August 28, is 3-0 with a 6.31 ERA in 21 games with New York this season.
New York was fourth in the AL East and nine games back of wild card-leading Boston entering play Saturday, putting the Yankees in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1993.
While some of the young talent didn't live up to expectations this year, Girardi praised his coaching staff before New York began its final homestand at Yankee Stadium. Team co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner said Monday that Girardi would be back next year for his second season as Yankees manager.
"The coaches have worked very hard and I don't anticipate anyone being a scapegoat," Girardi said. "But, I mean, I think we all understand the pressures of working in New York."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press