Wednesday notes: Hughes taking nothing for granted

Time to pack it up here in Port Charlotte, where Phil Hughes was the clear story of the day. Hughes looks “night and day” from where he was in 2011, according to Joe Girardi, and Russell Martin can hardly believe he is catching the same guy from last spring. Hughes has a 2.02 ERA in 13 1/3 innings and is giving the Yankees no reason to envision a starting five without him.

“I don’t put a lot into Spring Training, just because some guys have really good springs and some guys have really bad springs,” Hughes said. “For me personally, I’m happy to have some success and throw up as many zeroes as I can. Obviously I wasn’t perfect today, but it’s still pretty good, so I was encouraged.

“… I just try to go out every five days and pitch as well as I can. That’s really it. I don’t try to think too much into it; I have no control over that. I just try to get my work in and do the things that (pitching coach) Larry (Rothschild) asks me to do, and try to get better every day. I try to throw as many zeroes as I can.”

Girardi said he likes the fire Hughes seems to be showing, and isn’t concerned that the rotation crunch – seven men for five spots, if you count Andy Pettitte – could be pushing him.

“I think it’s important because every day is a competition,” Girardi said. “You can’t ever take your job for granted in this business. These are the things that I want to see. I want to see him compete and know, hey, someone wants your job. It’s not just the seven guys that we’re talking about now, there are some young guys that want some jobs too. I think it’s healthy.”

What went right: Hughes made just one bad pitch, a cutter that didn’t cut for a home run, and allowed two runs in five innings. He was most pleased with his changeup, estimating he threw about 15 of them in his 73 pitches … Justin Maxwell got another hit. He’s up to .435. Dewayne Wise is at .476. … Clay Rapada pitched a scoreless sixth. Cesar Cabral got the win and struck out six in two innings, permitting two hits. He has struck out 11 batters in 8 1/3 innings. … Mike O’Connor got a save with a scoreless ninth.

What went wrong: Not much, really. Nick Swisher is going to be down for a few days with the groin issue, but he’s expected to bounce back after receiving treatment all day at Steinbrenner Field. The Yankees left nine on base (four by Raul Ibanez, who is hitting .059 with two hits in 34 trips), and Chris Dickerson made a throwing error.

What they said: “That’d be nice. I’d take a 10-year contract, too.” – Hughes, on if he’d like a guaranteed rotation spot in the future.

What’s next: Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner and the Yankees will meet the Red Sox for the second time this spring on Thursday, making their first trip to the new JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., for a 7:05 p.m. ET contest that will air on MLB.TV. Right-hander David Phelps will make his first start and fifth appearance of the spring, with ace CC Sabathia pitching instead in a Minor League game in Tampa, Fla. The Red Sox will start right-hander Aaron Cook.

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