It seems like forever ago that the Yankees staged their spring-training-long competition for the fifth-starter spot, which ended with Phil Hughes in the rotation, Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen, and Chad Gaudin in Oakland. Thanks to some early season days off, they didn’t need Hughes to pitch in an actual game until last night. So how’d his season debut go? Not perfect, but not bad either.
Hughes allowed two runs over five inefficient innings — he threw 108 pitches — striking out six but walking five in the Yanks’$2 6–2 win over the Angels. (It’s days like these, by the way, that make the concept of a season innings limit seem unscientific and sort of silly. Hughes only went five innings, officially, but faced two batters in the sixth and threw enough pitches to get through seven or eight innings on a good night.) Hughes’s outing was encouraging enough, but he was far from the star of the game. That honor probably goes to Robinson Cano, who homered twice on the day baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson, after whom Cano is named. But it might also go to Curtis Granderson, who tripled twice and appears to be fitting in just fine in New York. (Perhaps more surprising than his multiple-triple game: Granderson’s four-for-twelve against lefties so far this season.)
Next up for the Yankees: the Texas Rangers, a popular pick to unseat the Angels as AL West champs. The schedule-makers were not kind to the Yankees in the early weeks of the season. But with three wins in as many series, you’re not likely to hear them complaining.