Phil Hughes left tonight's game with a stiff back. If the Yankees climb back into this series, his availability would be an open question.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 17, 2012
UPDATED: Thursday, October 18 at 2:00 p.m. ET by Adam Wells
There is sort of good news with Hughes' back injury. According to David Mayo of MLive.com, the Yankees believe Hughes can come back in the ALCS if it gets back to New York.
Girardi says Phil Hughes, he thinks, will be available to pitch if the #ALCS extends beyond the games in Detroit.— David Mayo (@David_Mayo) October 18, 2012
At this point, it would be an upset if the Yankees were to get this series back to Yankee Stadium. Considering that they won't be able to use Sabathia in a potential Game 7 thanks to the rainout on Wednesday, Hughes' presence could be a huge boost for the team if they make it that far.
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Hughes was lifted in the fourth inning after giving up a solo home run to Delmon Young and walking Andy Dirks.
Hughes posted a 4.23 ERA and 1.27 WHIP while going 16-13 for the Yankees this season. He had a strong game in the Yankees' 2-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in Game 4 of the ALDS, allowing just one run in 6.2 innings.
From the poor play of Alex Rodriguez to Hughes' injury, there's been a lot of turmoil in the playoffs for a team that posted the best record in the American League this season (95-67). This is certainly not the scenario New York could've predicted heading into the postseason.
Regardless of whether the Yankees advance past the ALCS, it is assuring that Hughes has been solid in the playoffs after an up-and-down career. The 26-year-old hasn't been spectacular for New York this season, but he has been a viable starter in the rotation, and that holds promise for the former first-round pick.
Check back here for the latest updates on Hughes' injury.