Whether it was exceeding the expectations of fans or letting them down, the New York Yankees have left many surprised this season.
Hoping the bullpen would carry the team as the Yankees suffered from a weak starting rotation with Andy Pettitte and other pitching hopefuls declining to sign with the team, the Yankees were forced to attain the mediocre Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia.
However, the previous thoughts that the bullpen would prevail were proven wrong, as Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain both suffered from injury.
With a struggling bullpen, the starting rotation shocked many as Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia each pitched to their full potential and brought the Yankees to multiple wins.
With injury plaguing many pitchers, the Yankees pitching has been up and down this season. The same goes for the offense as players have suffered through slumps while others prospered to their highest.
Only a few games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East standings, the Yankees need someone who can secure the first place position. With Phil Hughes returning to the pitcher's mound, he can be exactly what the Yankees are in need of. He can be their X-factor.
Here are five reasons why Phil Hughes could be the AL East's X-factor.