MLB: Yankees' Phil Hughes earns first win

May 2, 2007

20-year-old pitching phenom Phil Hughes cruised through hitters in just his second start for the New York Yankees, but the end result created even more frustration for the organization and fans everywhere.

Hughes retired 19 Texas Rangers without allowing a hit on Tuesday at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Established big league stars such as Kenny Lofton, Mark Teixeira and Michael Young could not solve the youngster's blazing fastball or sharply biting curve. Hughes was on the verge of history. Even as his pitch count rose, the Yankees allowed him to keep firing. "He was fine," manager Joe Torre said of the 2004 first round draft pick. "We were going to allow him to go 100 pitches last time, so I didn't think that would be a problem."

Just when the Yankees thought they found an answer to their early struggles, the organization was treated to an agonizing sight. After Teixeira fouled off an 0-2 pitch with one out in the sixth inning, Hughes grabbed his leg, having suffered a hamstring injury. His no-hit bid ended there (Texas would break up the no-hitter in the eighth inning off reliever Mike Myers), though he did earn his first big league win in a 10-1 Yankee romp over Texas. He walked off the mound under his own power, but will reportedly miss 4-6 weeks.

Hughes voiced his frustration afterwards: "It's tough. It puts a damper on the whole thing." He added, "I'm at a point now where our rotation really needs it," referring to his presence on the New York pitching staff. Several Yankees have already voiced their excitement for the righthander's chances in the big leagues. For his part, Yankees star Jason Giambi compared him to Roger Clemens during Spring Training: "He looks like a young Rocket."

The Yankees are currently just 10-14, thanks in large part to injuries that have befallen pitchers Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina, Carl Pavano and Jeff Karstens. In a related story from today, the Yankees fired strength and conditioning coach Marty Miller. Reportedly, this was out of general manager Brian Cashman's concern for the alarming number of hamstring injuries so far this season.