Yankees' Hughes Throws Batting Practice: What's Next for the Yankees Rotation?

Jed PContributor IIIJune 5, 2011

Phil Hughes finally made some progress with his "dead arm." He pitched to batters; this is the first time he threw to batters since April 14. The Yankee right-hander still isn't due to come back before the All-Star game, though this is another step closer for him to return.

Hughes threw 23 pitches to Yankee catcher Francisco Cervelli and Yankee outfielder Chris Dickerson. His velocity looked fine and he didn't look bad for a pitcher in a rehab session. 

The Yankees didn't want to pressure Hughes with the radar gun. Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild told the AP "I don't want him pitching to the gun, especially this early, trying to do too much and tweaking something else."

Hughes struck out Dickerson once, and gave up a few liners to the outfield and a few blasts. Hughes told the AP about his pitching "I felt like the ball was coming out of my hand good. I had no issues throwing. And everything seemed pretty sharp.

"At this stage, that's pretty much all I can ask for. I've been saying all along, I won't know until I get in a game, but so far everything's been right where I want it."

Hughes said he was worrying about when he will get into a real game, and not batting practice.

Though Hughes isn't pressuring himself into rushing through it, as he said right now he just wants to get the ball out of his hands right and not to concentrate on velocity and other aspects of his pitches.

In the Yankees rotation they are doing decent. Ivan Nova has been making progress as he pitched a combination of five pitches yesterday. He pitched 43 four seamed fastballs, 17 curve-balls, 10 change-ups, three cutters and 19 four seamed fastballs. 

CC Sabathia had an outstanding start Saturday night, pitching eight and two-thirds and giving up only one earned run, followed by a save by Mariano Rivera.

With Hughes being injured and Colon and Garcia being arguably unreliable starters a trade can take place as the deadline is slowly nearing. 

Aaron Harang can be a target. Harang is becoming a success in San Diego and can bring his current sinker success into Yankees' stadium. 

Ryan Dempster, who is struggling, can be good for the Yankees to eye at a low price. He is probably one of the most ready starters to get traded, as the Cubs are looking to shed the $14 million salary either way. 

Hiroki Kuroda is also due for a trade. He is a good pitcher and doesn't get much run support with the Dodgers. Also, any player would love to get out of the current mess in the Dodgers organization.

John Danks could be the one. He started the season with a horrific 0-8 record posting a 5+ earned run average. Without a doubt, he is gonna be shopped cheap at the deadline, and the Yankees need to get some youth in their rotation, so the 25-year-old could be a match.

So who will the Yankees deal? As of now it would look like either slumping Nick Swisher who has an expiring contract or Jorge Posada, who requested to be dealt.

Posada is also slumping in his likely last year to be a Yankee either way. Or there's always a possibility of a prospect swap.