Could there possibly be any three people more amped up for Phil Hughes’s 2008 debut than Mike, Ben, and me? Well, maybe this guy (though we haven’t heard from him in nearly a month).
Tonight will be the first of what should be 20-some-odd starts by the 21-year-old. Expectations are sky-high: Keith Law picks him as a Cy Young sleeper (as apparently I did as well with the title), as has Peter Gammons. His spring was solid, not great, so it will be interesting to see how he reacts now that the games count. However, even if he pitches like he did in the spring, I wouldn’t be disappointed. We’re still early on, and as many people pointed out last night, most guys haven’t reached their peak strength yet. And if you’ll remember from last year, Hughes was unimpressive in his first start out for Scranton.
Posada is still out with the sore shoulder. According to Sam Borden via PeteAbe, he might DH tomorrow. Matsui slides into left, apparently breaking himself in for some playing time out there when Melky Cabrera serves his inevitable suspension.
The Yanks face Dustin McGowan tonight, another Law-picked Cy Young sleeper. He certainly has the stuff. Apparently, he was feeling flu-like symptoms yesterday, but will pitch today. Which makes sense — I don’t know of many hangovers that last for two days.
1. Johnny Damon, DH
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Jason Giambi, 1B
6. Robinson Cano, 2B
7. Hideki Matsui, LF
8. Jose Molina, C
9. Melky Cabrera, CF
And on the mound, number thirty-four, Phil Hughes.