New York Yankees: Bartolo Colon in Rotation After Phil Hughes Placed on DL

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IApril 15, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 03:  Bartolo Colon #40 of the New York Yankees against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium on April 3, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Last night, we saw Phil Hughes start for the third time and get whacked around by the Orioles.

We then saw Bartolo Colon come in and attempt to clean up a mess Hughes made in the game.

According to ESPN's Ian Begley, following the third horrible start for Hughes, he will now be placed on the disabled list with what New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi is calling a "dead arm" issue.

Girardi last night felt that he wasn't really hurt, but they felt like the move was best for the team after another bad outing from the 24-year-old right-hander.

Hughes also didn't know what to make of the slow start, but is accepting what has happened from the Yankees.

"It is what it is," said Hughes about being put on the DL, according to ESPN.

Hughes is 0-1, with a 13.97 ERA in those three starts. His longest outing was in fact last night's game against the Baltimore Orioles, which was 4.1 innings, allowing seven hits and five runs.

There is major concern because Hughes' fastball has been in the mid 80's to low 90's this season, where his average fastball is somewhere from 91-94.

The velocity just hasn't been there, and to add further concern, neither has his location. 

So now with Hughes on the DL, Colon, who earned a job as the long-reliever out of spring training, will rightfully take his spot in the starting rotation for the Yankees.

This is the right move for the Yankees to make. Since getting the job for the Yankees, Colon has exceeded all expectations and pitched extremely well for the Yankees.

Colon right now is 0-1, with a 3.97 ERA in three relief appearances (all games he came in following a Hughes start).

In the one game he lost against the Boston Red Sox 7-6, he only gave up one run over 4.1 innings. If Hughes had not started that game, the Yankees might have won this game last Friday since they had John Lackey's number.

It's funny how a year can change things.

A year ago, Hughes was an All-Star with an 18-8 record and was pitching brilliantly for the Yankees.

Colon was out of baseball completely in 2010.

A year later, Hughes is out of the rotation and on the DL following a horrid start.

Colon is, for now, a key part to the Yankees rotation early on in the season.

How long will Colon last in the rotation?

Going on 38 years old this May, his age and durability come into question, as the last time he finished a full season in the majors was back in 2005 with 33 starts.

Right now though, Colon looks healthy. He's looking back like his former self, who won the 2005 American League Cy Young Award with the Angels, going 21-8 that year.

If Colon can't hold up, the Yankees do have an insurance policy in Kevin Millwood, who is in extended spring training right now and getting himself into regular season mode for the Yankees.

Even if Colon is still healthy and pitching well, I expect Millwood to be called up to the Yankees before May 1 and either be put into the rotation or used in long relief with Freddy Garcia.

In fact, the fifth spot may be determined between Millwood and Garcia, depending on who is pitching better at the time.

If the Yankees hadn't added pitching depth like Colon this winter, the Hughes velocity issue would be seen as a disaster.

But because Colon had pitched very well so far for the Yankees, it's not as big of an issue, and they can figure out what to do with Hughes.


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