Phil Hughes looks to have an excellent future ahead of him as a starter, but for the time being, he will work out of the bullpen. Thankfully, he has embraced his new role and is cooperating with whatever situation Joe Girardi wants to throw him in.
"Whatever role they want me in, no problem," Hughes said. "I am here to help the team win, not to be a specific type of pitcher."
Hughes pitched lights out last night, as he struck out Evan Longoria to end a perfect seventh inning. With Mariano Rivera most likely unavailable tonight, Hughes might get a chance to earn his first major league save.
I was really impressed to see Hughes pitch so well despite the seven-day layoff. He threw 7/11 pitches for strikes, reached 95.2 MPH on the gun, and used three devastating pitches to retire the top three hitters for the Rays.
Hughes’ performance reminded Andrew Fletcher of Scott Proctor’s Arm of Joba Chamberlain in 2007. That year, Chamberlain joined the team in August, and pitched strictly out of the bullpen to boost the Yankees into the playoffs.
Hughes may play a similar role for the Yankees in 2009, and I am excited to see how he performs the rest of the season.