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First of all, I’d like to welcome Bobby Murcer back to the broadcast booth. Murcer battled cancer this off season and tonight was his first game back.

Now, tonight’s game. Before we talk about the horrible, horrible end of the night for Phil Hughes, let’s talk about what we saw in the first 6.1 innings.

Hughes struck out 6, walked 3, gave up 0 runs and 0 hits. He was absolutely dominating. The Rangers never had a chance. They hit into two double plays, and managed to get the ball out of the infield only three times. Phil Hughes is the real deal people.

I hope you had the great privilege of watching this game tonight, because if this story from ESPN.com is correct, we won’t be seeing Phil again for quite some time.

Hughes left the game with his no-hitter intact, and an 0–2 count on Mark Teixeira with one out in the bottom of the seventh. On an 0–2 curve, Hughes felt a pop in his left leg as he followed through. He wanted to keep going, but every coach and trainer from the Yankee dugout rushed the mound, and Hughes was lifted. ESPN is saying that Hughes will be out four to six weeks, but they don’t say what the injury is.

I can’t tell you how much this news hurts. In Hughes’ first start we saw a glimpse at just how good he could be. Tonight, we saw how good he is. He dominated with all three of his pitches. In the sixth inning he reached back for something extra on his fastball and blew his fastest pitch of the night right past Kenny Lofton. The word dominant doesn’t even do justice to this start.

If you’re looking for a silver lining, which I desperately am, assuming Hughes is out for a month, then comes back to the Yanks after a rehab start or two. He could rejoin the rotation, and throw somewhere in the neighborhood of 180 innings total this season. That’s exactly the schedule they wanted him to be on, work-load wise, for this year. Then next year they’d bump him up to 200 innings, and go from there.

I’m not buying into the ESPN story until I see something official from the Yanks, but even if it is true, all the Yankees need to do is wait just a little while longer. The future is brighter than ever. Sometime in June, the Yanks will have an ace in their rotation, and a 20 year-old ace to boot.

Player of the Game: Do I even have to type it? Phil Hughes. 

by Brian on May 2 2007
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