MLB

Yanks demote Hughes to bullpen; Huff to start

09/04 1:03 AM

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi has demoted the struggling Phil Hughes to the bullpen and will instead start lefty David Huff during this weekend's series against the Boston Red Sox.

NEW YORK -- New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi has demoted the struggling Phil Hughes to the bullpen and will instead start lefty David Huff during this weekend's series against the Boston Red Sox.

"It's been [an] up-and-down year for Phil and Huff's been throwing the ball well, and we are just going to make the change," Girardi said.

Huff, 29, earned the start after allowing just one earned run in 5 1/3 innings in relief of Hughes on Monday against the Chicago White Sox.

In six appearances as a Yankee, Huff is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA. The Yankees acquired him after the Cleveland Indians designated him for assignment in May. He was a first-round pick, the 39th overall, in the 2006 draft by the Indians.

In 2004, the Yankees made Hughes the 23rd pick of the draft and he was supposed to be their next ace. While he was an All-Star in 2010, he has never fully lived up to the hype, leading to his demotion from the rotation. Hughes, 27, is 4-13 with a 4.86 ERA. His ERA is the ninth worst in baseball among qualified starters.

Hughes pitched Monday, but threw only 20 pitches before Girardi decided to protect his arm by not sending him back out to the mound after a rain delay.

Hughes has been effective out of the bullpen in his career. While batters hit .265 against him as a starter, that number plummets to .172 as a reliever. His ERA is 4.72 as a starter compared to 1.44 out of the bullpen.

Hughes will become a free agent at the end of the season. The team had planned to make a one-year qualifying offer for $13.8 million, but likely will have to pivot off that stance because of his ineffectiveness this season. Without the one-year offer, the Yankees would receive no compensation if Hughes were to leave as a free agent.

For his career, Hughes is 56-49 with a 4.48 ERA.


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