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Huff to start over Kuroda in Yanks' season finale

Huff to start over Kuroda in Yanks' season finale

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HOUSTON -- Hiroki Kuroda's final turn in the rotation could have come in Sunday's season finale, but the veteran struggled mightily down the stretch, prompting Yankees manager Joe Girardi to give the ball to David Huff instead.

Kuroda was one of the Yankees' most reliable pitchers through the first four months of the season, but his performance fell off in mid-August. Kuroda was 0-5 with a 6.80 ERA in his final seven starts of the year.

"He's thrown a lot of innings [201 1/3], and I've said that his sinker was not quite the same and his slider wasn't quite the same," Girardi said. "The first year we had him, it happened a little bit in April, the inconsistency, and then he really locked it in the rest of the year.

"And then this year, he came out great and it happened at the end of the year. It could be a combination of a lot of things: all the innings the last two years, fatigue, it could be a combination of a lot of things, but no one ever really knows."

Kuroda completed his second season with New York holding an 11-13 record and a 3.31 ERA in 32 starts. A free agent, Kuroda has said that he is unsure about his plans for 2014.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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