Phil Hughes: 5 Reasons His Healthy Return Makes Yankees AL East Front Runner

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Phil Hughes: 5 Reasons His Healthy Return Makes Yankees AL East Front Runner
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
If Phil Hughes can return at the level of his 2010 first half, the Yankees will be in great shape.

After two months of recovery from dead arm, Yankees starting pitcher Phil Hughes pitched his first rehab start at Single-A on Sunday. His impending return could not have come at a better time for New York, as it sits 1.5 games behind the Red Sox for the AL East lead.

The Yankees staff has performed admirably since Hughes' injury, with all five starters holding an ERA below 4.15. That includes spring training experiments Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, who have combined for 10 wins, while each has an ERA below 3.65.

A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova have seven wins each, but both have had their share of inconsistencies. The return of Hughes to the rotation will make the Yankees better in a number of ways.

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