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Phil Hughes Strong in First Rehab Start

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The Yankees received some encouraging news from the minors Sunday.  Starter Phil Hughes has begun his rehab starts with the club’s minor league squads and was able to turn in 4.1 strong innings yesterday for the Yankees Single-A affiliate.

Over 4.1 innings Hughes struck out 7 while allowing only a single run.  The right hander looked more like the pitcher New York expected this season instead of the one who’s given them a 13.94 ERA.

Hughes’ fastball was sitting in the low to mid 90’s, reaching as high as 95 last night.  Before hitting the disabled list in April, the 24 year old was having a hard time even making it to the 90 mph plateau.

Hughes was only able to make 3 appearances before being shelved with shoulder inflammation and a dead arm.  At the time fans may not have been too saddened by the news, as it allowed Hughes to take his gargantuan earned run average to the DL and hopefully straighten out his issues.

If New York could get a Hughes that resembled last year’s model, they would be pretty ecstatic.  The team had him penciled in as at least their number three to begin the year, perhaps hoping he could outperform the albatross that is A.J. Burnett.  Instead the Yankees have had to depend on the yester-year twins Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia along with 24 year old Ivan Nova.

The staff hasn’t been awful, but it’s only sitting around the middle of the pack.  The offense should be able to carry New York into the playoffs, but the pitching staff could certainly use an added punch for the postseason.  The Yankees are hoping Hughes can provide it.