New York Yankees: Why Phil Hughes Will Lose His Rotation Spot to Andy Pettitte

Doug RushSenior Analyst IMay 2, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01:  Phil Hughes #65 of the New York Yankees reacts after giving up a home run to J.J. Hardy #2 of the Baltimore Orioles during their game on May 1, 2012 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The 2012 season is not looking good for Phil Hughes.

Hughes made his first start of May against the Baltimore Orioles, looking to get himself on the winning track and on the right path.

And it's just not happening for the 25-year-old, who is basically on the verge of losing his rotation spot with each loss.

Hughes' Tuesday night loss to Baltimore drops him to 1-4 with a 7.48 ERA on the season.

He's pitched in 21.2 innings in five starts, has not completed six innings in any of those games and has allowed 18 earned runs to his opponents.

He does have 23 strikeouts so far, but if he's not striking hitters out, they're hitting him all over the park.

Now, before the end of the month, we were all wondering who would lose their spot in the rotation between Hughes and Freddy Garcia, who was struggling even worse for the Yankees in 2012.

Garcia has already been demoted to the bullpen and David Phelps is going to audition for a spot in the rotation.

So now with Hughes continuing to struggle and losing games for the Yankees, it's just a matter of time before he gets bumped out of the rotation when Andy Pettitte gets called up.

Pettitte pitched in a Class A game for the Yankees on Monday and is expected to make at least one more appearance in the minors to get tuned up and ready for a target date of May 10 to return to the Yankees.

TAMPA, FL - APRIL 4: Pitcher Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees throws against the New York Mets in a spring training game April 4, 2012  at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Pettitte last pitched in 2010. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/G
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Hughes may get one last chance to try and hold onto his spot, depending on how he does and how Phelps pitches.

It's really a shame that in all likelihood, unless Phelps gets bombed in his audition, Hughes is going to lose his spot in the rotation.

The Yankees were really counting on their right-hander to generate the success he had from 2010 and bring that into the 2012 campaign.

But it's not happening. It's hasn't been a health thing. It hasn't been a velocity thing either.

It's been a location thing. Hitters are teeing off on Hughes when he leaves pitches up in the zone.

In Tuesday's game, Chris David and J.J. Hardy were able to take Hughes deep, which turned a 1-0 Yankees lead into a 3-1 Orioles lead.

On Monday, Eric Chavez hit a home run off Jason Hammel to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead and Hiroki Kuroda never gave the lead back. He got stronger pitching deep into the game.

Hughes can't even get to that point for the Yankees. If not for the Yankees' bats bailing out Hughes against the Twins back on April 19, he'd be 0-5 instead of 1-4.

Either way, Hughes isn't cutting it for the Yankees in 2012, and it's only a matter of time before he's the next one out of the rotation.

Like I said, it's a shame, but putting Pettitte over Hughes in the rotation will end up being the best move for the Yankees going forward.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.