Following another disappointing performance by 27-year-old hurler Phil Hughes, the New York Yankees are left wondering what pitcher they will be putting on the mound every fifth day.

After the loss to the Toronto Blue Jays where the starter yielded three earned runs and seven hits in just four and two-thirds innings, MLB.COM beat writer Bryan Hoch reported that manager Joe Girardi could only give a “lukewarm endorsement” of his pitcher.

He holds a one-year contract, and his less than stellar appearances this season could mark the end of six years in pinstripes.  The realization of this has reportedly left Hughes willing to take a bullpen role with any team that will sign him next year.

2013 has been a microcosm of Hughes’ entire career; loaded with promising highs and perplexing lows. 

The right-handed starter with a mid-90s fastball and a sharp slider just can’t put it all together.  Whether it be from start to start, or year to year, the club never knows what it will get from Hughes.

It seems that every time the Yankees and their fans are ready to embrace him, the “bad Hughes” leaves them feeling like “Hannah Montana” fans at the Video Music Awards.

As the team tries to make a run at a spot in the playoffs during the final month, the wild inconsistency he has shown is hurting their chances, and patience is wearing thin.

The Yankees problem is that there are few, if any, options to replace Hughes. 

David Phelps is on the 60-day disabled list and may not pitch again this season.

During his rehab from a torn labrum at Triple A Scranton, Michael Pineda has had mixed results.  After experiencing shoulder stiffness following an August 2 start, he was temporarily shut down.

Adam Warren, with the exception of one game this season, has been used as a long reliever.  The team would prefer to keep him in the bullpen.

Recent call-up David Huff has been extremely effective in his four relief appearances.  The 28-year-old has given up just one run and two hits in nine and two-thirds innings (0.93 ERA) pitched.  He may be the most logical to move into Hughes’ spot if the Yankees decide to make a change.

The former Cleveland Indian made 52 starts for the Tribe prior to joining the Yankees in 2013. 

In what has become a tired old song for the team, Hughes’ next start may very well decide his fate during September.

Until then, the Yankees and their fans will be left guessing which Phil Hughes will toe the rubber, and whether it is too late to make a change.

 All statistics courtesy of


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