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Hughes Debuts Tonight

Andy Pettitte was scheduled to pitch last night, but after the game was warshed-out, he’s being pushed to Friday, when Boston comes to town for a weekend series. Which means Phillip Hughes will start tonight as previously planned. After Chase Wright’s poor outing at Fenway last weekend, the Yankees are intent on keeping the pressure off Hughes, who’ll be plenty anxious anyhow, as he makes his big league debut (Cliff will be at the game tonight and hopefully will have some flicks for us to check out in the a.m.).

“I don’t know how he’s going to handle it,” catcher Jorge Posada said. “We all hope he is going to handle it well. He’s very smart. He understands what’s going on. The last two spring trainings he carried himself real well so we’re looking forward to it.”

…”I feel like I’ve really come a long way in just a few starts,” Hughes said, “especially that last start that I had went real well.”

That last start was against Syracuse, Toronto’s triple-A team. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said they’ll learn what they can from the Chiefs but they expect Hughes to pitch well.

“He’s thought very highly of,” Gibbons said. “Arguably, they say the best pitcher in the minor leagues. So we know he’ll be bringing it pretty good.”
Jay Cohen, Toronto Sun,

A.J. Burnett, who can be awfully tough to handle when he’s on will start for the Jays.

It’s funny, while Em and I were away on our marrymoon, I promised her that I wouldn’t let myself get crazy no matter what happened in Boston. I said, “I just won’t watch any of the games, the Yanks will be lucky not to get swept anyway.” Then, we caught A Rod hit a dinger off Schilling on Friday night and watched the rest of the game, only to witness Mo blow a lead. No problem, hey, we just got married. Life is bigger than the Yankees or the Red Sox, right? Even I could swing with that given the moment.

The next day, we returned to our room late in the afternoon, and I went to the bathroom to wash up. When I returned, there was my bride sneaking a peak at the game. (Yes, I appreciate how good I have it.) So we watched portions of that game. Again, the Yanks lost, and again, I kept my composure. Perspective, man, perspective, I can hang with this. But I absolutely refused to watch the Sunday night game. Matsuzaka is way too imposing, I reasoned. I can’t bear to listen to the ESPN guys, and stay up late, just to see him crush the Bombers. Why can’t a pitcher like that–who is wondefully entertaining–be on any team but Boston for crying out loud? But once again, we found ourselves cliking over to check the score, and all considering the Yanks held their own against him.

Still, I didn’t lose any sleep. I read some of the comment threads here and was grateful that I wasn’t getting as worked-up as I normally would. The Yankee offense was good all weekend and Alex Rodriguez continued to hit the ball well, so it wasn’t a total bust. Plus, wouldn’t you know it, but the resort we were staying at was filthy with Red Sox fans. I met a few of them, chatted them up, and they were cool, dangit. One dude, Paul, a classic-looking, Trot Nixon-lovin, die-hard, was particularly cool, and we rapped about the series with the green-blue ocean in the background.

But all bets were off by Tuesday night however, and as I slumped on our couch back in the Bronx after Myers gave up the grand slam to Carl Crawford (“Hey Em, we’re home, and they’ve lost five straight, can I be at least a little grumpy now?”). Yet as lousy a couple of days as the Yanks have had, they’ve had worse starts under Joe Torre, as Steve Lombardi points out. Let’s hope tonight is the start of something good.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver