Hughes makes season debut for Yanks

Hughes set to make season debut

DETROIT -- Phil Hughes was able to watch the Yankees open their series at Comerica Park from a distance, so he could have taken notes on how CC Sabathia kept his mistakes to a minimum in his best start for New York thus far.

But the Yankees are also hoping that Hughes hasn't been watching the rest of the road trip too closely, wondering if he can be a breath of fresh air on a journey that has quickly grown stale.

Hughes will be called up Tuesday for his 2009 debut as the Yankees meet the Tigers for the second game of three in Detroit, looking to halt a four-game skid that started Friday at Boston.

"You want to stop them as soon as you can," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We've got a chance to stop it [Tuesday]. We've got Phil Hughes on the mound, and you don't have to do any more than just throw strikes and throw quality pitches, and give us a chance to win the game. You want to stop it as soon as you can, and [Tuesday] is a good day."

Hughes, 22, is being called upon in place of struggling right-hander Chien-Ming Wang, who posted a 34.50 ERA through three starts and has been dispatched to the club's compound in Tampa, Fla., to work on physical and mechanical issues.

Sent out after a good spring, Hughes was told to be the person pitching the best when the Yankees would dip into their farm, and he answered the call. He was 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA in three starts for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including hurling 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball in his last start on Wednesday against Buffalo.

"He's up here for a reason," Johnny Damon said. "He pitched well during Spring Training and went down to the Minors and pitched well, and hopefully he comes up here and does the same thing. We're looking for a big game from him facing Edwin Jackson, who has a live arm. We just have to try to help Phil out as much as we can."

Hughes missed much of last season with a stress fracture in his ninth right rib, but returned as a September callup and pitched well in two starts, finishing on a strong note Sept. 24 at Toronto.

In that game, Hughes recorded a no-decision with eight innings of two-run, five-hit ball, carrying over those good vibes into the Arizona Fall League and a spring that drew raves from Yankees officials.

"I liked how he attacked the zone," Girardi said. "I thought he was much more aggressive than he was last year. He had a good fastball, a good cutter, a good curveball. His changeup is still a work in progress, but he has been throwing it.

"I like how he took the responsibility for what happened last year. It was something that he had to deal with and he had to make right."

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Phil Hughes (0-4, 6.62 ERA in 2008)
Hughes last pitched on Wednesday at Triple-A, improving to 3-0 with 7 2/3 innings of one-run, six-hit ball in a 6-1 victory over Buffalo, walking one and striking out seven in a 105-pitch start. In three International League starts, Hughes had a 1.86 ERA, allowing four runs on 17 hits in 19 1/3 innings, walking three and striking out 19. Hughes had a 2.19 ERA in four Grapefruit League games (three starts) with New York this spring.

DET: RHP Edwin Jackson (1-1, 2.77 ERA)
After two dominant starts and another solid one, Jackson finally battled his command in his fourth outing as a Tiger. After two bases-loaded walks erased an early lead and a Torii Hunter homer put him behind against the Angels, Jackson had seemingly recovered until two infield singles and two errors sank him in the sixth. It was still a decent demonstration in damage control, but it wasn't enough for the Tigers to overcome. Jackson will face a familiar challenge with the Yankees, who have given him a 5.72 ERA in 13 career outings but who have homered just five times in 50 1/3 innings against him.

Tidbits
The Yankees' four-game slide is their longest since losing four straight from Aug. 8-11 of last year. ... Robinson Cano singled to left field in the fourth inning Monday, extending his hitting streak to 14 games. He is hitting .361 (22-for-61) with four doubles, four home runs and 12 RBIs during the stretch. ... Jorge Posada appeared in his 1,500th career game on Monday, entering as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning. ... Hughes last started vs. Detroit on April 29 of last season in New York, taking a loss after allowing six runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• YES

On radio
• WCBS 880, 92.7 WQBU (Español)

Up next
• Wednesday: Yankees (Joba Chamberlain, 0-0, 3.94) at Tigers (Rick Porcello, 1-2, 4.50), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Yankees (A.J. Burnett, 2-0, 5.47) vs. Angels (Anthony Ortega, 0-1, 7.20), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 2-1, 2.96) vs. Angels (Jered Weaver, 2-1, 2.45), 7:05 p.m. ET

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.