Yankees off to Tough Start, but Phil Hughes May Turn into the Hero

Bill Ford@billfordwritesCorrespondent IIIApril 8, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06:  Phil Hughes #65 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch against the Detroit Tigers during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 6, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The New York Yankees have had two difficult losses in their first two games of the season, but no one should have any concerns about having a bad season.

CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda weren't able to bring a win to the Yankees, but the stage is set for Phil Hughes to shine.

Hughes is set to start against the Tampa Bay Rays in the final game of the season-opening series. He will be tasked with the responsibility of preventing the Yankees from being swept.

Hughes struggled quite a bit in 2011 dealing with his injuries and had a tough season. The hope is that he can get himself back to his peak physical condition and have a similar season like his breakout season in 2010.

During spring training this year, Hughes had 12 strikeouts and a 1.56 ERA in 17.1 innings.

His performance in spring training indicated that he has recovered and rehabilitated from his injuries, and they do not seem to have a negative effect on his pitching mechanics any longer.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he is excited to see the old Phil Hughes back, and that Hughes worked very hard to get himself to this point.

After struggling with his performance in the past, and suffering from his injuries, his confidence took a beating. With such a successful spring training performance, Hughes' confidence on the mound is stronger than ever, and it will show as the season progresses.

That new-found confidence should enable him to have a strong and solid outing as he takes the mound today. With a win today, it will solidify his self-confidence, as well as the confidence that they Yankees and the fans have in him.

Yankees Universe is relying on Hughes today. He can handle the pressure.