Tonight very well could be Phil Hughes‘s last start for the Yankees — for now, of course. With indications that Chien-Ming Wang could be back soon, Hughes could be headed back to AAA to continue building up innings. There’s a chance he could head to the bullpen, but given the Yanks’ care in developing him I don’t think that’s a strong possibility. Not right now, at least, when he could stand to get in the every-five-days routine and accumulate innings.
Taking the mound for the Orioles will be Jeremy Guthrie. He’ll be making his third start against the Yanks this season. The last one is still fresh in Yankees memory, as it came when CC dominated the Orioles in Baltimore a couple of weeks ago. Guthrie threw quite well that night, hurt only by A-Rod‘s debut three-run shot. After that he allowed no runs over the next 5.2 innings, striking out eight and walking just two. It was a slight improvement over his Opening Day start, in which he also pitched six innings and allowed three runs, but struck out only three to three walks.
I’m guessing Brett Gardner is still only available in limited capacity due to the contusion on his right rotator cuff. I say this because Nick Swisher could use a night off. He has just five hits all of May, and has posted a .102/.262/.184 line in those 16 games. He’s had a few hard-hit balls lately, which is encouraging. But the hits just aren’t dropping (.143 BABIP). Then again, he’s not putting nearly as many balls in play: just 29 in 49 AB (62 PA). It’s be real nice to see Swisher get a base knock tonight.
And on the mound, number sixty-five, Philip J. Hughes.