It's official, but not really a shock. Phil Hughes' 13-pitch relief appearance against the Boston Red Sox, when he gave up the winning run in the tenth inning, cost the pitcher a start against the Los Angeles Angels this week. Hughes' spot will be filled by Ivan Nova.
Manager Joe Girardi tweaked the starting rotation for the upcoming three-game home series because of Hughes short stint in Sunday night's game. Hughes came in, after Mariano Rivera blew his fifth game of the season, and gave up two hits and Boston's walk-off score.
Hughes was set to open the series on Tuesday but struggling A.J. Burnett will be moved up one day. The ineffective Burnett will try and rebound from a disastrous outing against the Chicago White Sox, when the Yankees batters staked him to a 12-run lead, that he almost couldn't hold on to. Burnett gave back seven earned runs and was yanked before he could go five innings to qualify for a win. He will square-off against Dan Haren.
Nova will start Wednesday and is coming off an impressive 10-strikeout, six-hit and one earned run performance against the same White Sox team. Nova has won six of his last seven starts.
Bartolo Colon will close out the series on Thursday after a shaky outing (six-hits and two earned runs) against the Red Sox. He was pulled in the fifth after loading the bases and the bull pen took over. The Yankees won that game, 3-2.
Girardi's biggest concern had to be giving CC Sabathia an additional day off. Sabathia, who is notoriously fickle about throwing with extra rest, will now open the series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night. Girardi thinks the rest is good for his ace after being banged up by the Red Sox on Saturday.
The manager said there wasn't anything in particular that presented itself to be a problem with Sabathia, but it seemed like a good time to give him a break.
Hughes, on the other hand, has to be wondering if the thirteen pitches he threw on Sunday are a bad omen. In his previous start, he gave up three hits and no runs in six sparkling innings and his ERA has dropped to 7.11 from a dismal 13.94 when he came off the DL.
"It's always disappointing if you're no starting," said Hughes. "I feel like I made some good progress in my last start, so if I have to wait around, it won't be something that's fun to deal with, but again, I don't make these calls or anything like that."