Fenway reunion awaits Hughes

Fenway reunion awaits Hughes

BOSTON -- Unlike his first trip to Fenway Park, Phil Hughes will have one of the best seats in the house for Sunday night's finale to the three-game weekend series with the Red Sox.

The Yankees starter, a Red Sox fan growing up in Southern California, did not always have the best view of games when he, his Rhode Island-bred parents and friends would make the trip back from the West Coast.

"We always had bad seats, but we wouldn't complain," recalled Hughes, who played at Foothill High School in Santa Ana., Calif. "I remember my first game. Mo Vaughn and Nomar [Garciaparra] both hit home runs. I didn't like to live out here, so I had to come back here and play.

"I thought it was really cool when I was young, but now that I'm in this clubhouse ... It's different, because I'm used to these big stadiums in California," Hughes said.

The 21-year-old will take the Fenway mound for the first time as a big leaguer when he starts Sunday night against Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he will tell his young right-hander to "just go out and pitch, just like I would tell any other pitcher, just go do your thing.

"If you don't make quality pitches, you're going to get beat. The quality wasn't there against Kansas City, the quality was there against Toronto, and that was the difference in the two starts."

In his 2008 debut on April 3 at Yankee Stadium, Hughes held the Blue Jays to four hits and two runs over six innings but did not figure in the decision as the Yankees prevailed, 3-2. His last outing was not as strong, as he allowed six hits and three runs. He walked four and struck out two and lasted just three innings.

Hughes took the loss, snapping his personal three-game winning streak dating back to last season, and it marked the first time in seven starts that the Yankees lost a game started by Hughes, dating back to last Sept. 5.

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Phil Hughes (0-1, 5.00 ERA)
After growing up as a Red Sox fan, Hughes will take the mound for his first career start at Fenway Park wearing the road grays of an organization he has since come to embrace. The 21-year-old has had mixed results in his first two starts of the year, hurling six innings of two-run ball against the Blue Jays in a no-decision but not being able to make it out of the fourth inning on Tuesday in Kansas City. Hughes said he was unable to spot his fastball to set up secondary pitches, and needless to say, if he struggles again in Boston, the potent Red Sox lineup can punish him.

BOS: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-0, 1.47 ERA)
The right-hander is off to a solid start and the Red Sox have won all three games he's pitched. Matsuzaka fired 6 2/3 shutout innings in his most recent outing, a 5-0 victory over the Tigers. Over his last two starts, he's given up just one run over 13 1/3 innings. Matsuzaka had mixed results against the Yankees last year, going 2-1 with a 6.12 ERA in four starts.

The Yankees scored three runs or less for the eighth time Saturday in the 4-3 loss to the Red Sox. New York is 3-5 in those eight games. Since the start of the 2007 season, the Bombers are just 9-41 when scoring fewer than four runs. ... Jose Molina has hit safely in each of his eight starts this season and in 20 of his 24 starts since being acquired by the Yankees on July 21, 2007, batting .378 (31-for-82) in those games. He leads the Yankees with six doubles.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WCBS 880, WNSW 1430 (Español)

Up next
• Monday: Yankees (Ian Kennedy, 0-1, 13.50) at Rays (Andy Sonnanstine, 1-1, 6.00), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 1-1, 3.09) at Rays (Edwin Jackson, 2-0, 0.64), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Yankees (Chien-Ming Wang, 3-0, 1.23) vs. Red Sox (Clay Buchholz, 0-1, 3.27), 7:05 p.m. ET

Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.