Yankees shelve Hughes with 'dead arm'

BY foxsports • April 15, 2011

Shaky Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes was put on the 15-day disabled list Friday because of a ''dead arm,'' a day after he again got hit hard when his velocity took a sudden drop.

''Something had to be done,'' Hughes said before New York played Texas on Friday night.

Hughes said there were no signs that he's injured and the Yankees said no medical tests were planned. But something clearly is wrong. A year after he went 18-8, Hughes is 0-1 with a 13.94 ERA after three starts and is having trouble reaching 90 mph with his fastball.

Hughes acknowledged that throwing a career-high 176 1-3 innings last year could be affecting him. There is no timetable for his return.

''We don't feel he's hurt,'' manager Joe Girardi said. ''We'll see if we can get rid of that fatigue.''

''There's concern,'' he said.

The Yankees decided there would be no benefit to sending Hughes to Triple-A and having him start every five days. Instead, he will remain with the Yankees and work on strengthening his right arm with exercises and long tosses.

Bartolo Colon, who won the AL Cy Young Award in 2005 and has been in New York's bullpen this season, will take the 24-year-old Hughes' spot in the rotation.

''I didn't necessarily anticipate this happening,'' said Hughes, whom the Yankees counted on to solidify their rotation. ''I don't believe it's just disappeared.''

The puzzling problem was the latest setback for the Yankees' fragile staff. Lefty specialist Pedro Feliciano was put on the 60-day DL because of a shoulder tear and is expected to miss his entire first year with New York.

The Yankees signed righty Lance Pendleton to a major league deal and selected his contract from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He was drafted from the Houston organization in December and was 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA in two relief appearances this year.

Hughes has had not gotten through the fifth inning in any of his outings.

Baltimore tagged him for five runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings Thursday night. He reached 92 mph in the first inning but consistently threw in the 88-89 mph range after that.

''I felt OK in the first inning and then, as I saw and everybody saw, there's a significant drop-off,'' Hughes said.

''My arm feels dead,'' Hughes said. ''Nothing coming out.''

Girardi had preached patience while Hughes had trouble cranking up his fastball in spring training and early this season. The manager, however, became alarmed this time by Hughes' results against the Orioles.

''It's like he ran out of gas. He wasn't getting outs,'' Girardi said. ''It wasn't helping him, it wasn't helping us.''

With a loaded lineup, the Yankees went into spring training wondering how their rotation would hold up. CC Sabathia is a bona fide ace, but A.J. Burnett has been inconsistent during his career and Ivan Nova is a rookie. Hughes, meanwhile, was considered somewhat of a sure thing.

The Yankees have signed several veteran starters since the end of last season. Colon has pitched in relief and Freddy Garcia is set to make his first start for the Yankees on Saturday. Kevin Millwood and Carlos Silva also are in the mix for later in the year.

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