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Phil Hughes Makes His Case To Stay In Yankees’ Rotation; Ivan Nova Next

Phil Hughes (credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Phil Hughes (credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Phil Hughes wanted to show the Yankees that they could trust him — and his fastball.

Consider it done, at least for one start. Hughes (2-3), who spent nearly two months on the disabled list this season, allowed only three hits against the punchless White Sox on Tuesday.

“I love it,” said manager Joe Girardi. “That’s what the great athletes do. When they have to compete and they have to buckle down, they’re able to do it.”

“Obviously this year hasn’t gone the way I would have liked, but I just tried to get back to basics and do what I do well,” Hughes said. “I was just aggressive and throwing strikes and it’s a good feeling to have an outing like this.”

Hughes’ strong outing and the velocity on his pitches — he reached 95 mph in the first inning — could lead to a tough decision for the Yankees. New York is using a six-man rotation this week but probably will need to decide between Hughes and Ivan Nova for the fifth spot at some point. Nova gets the start on Thursday.

“It didn’t even really come into my mind, everything that was going on,” Hughes said. “It’s more of a personal thing for me. I wanted to pitch well. I knew I could do better than what I’d been showing. I wanted to satisfy myself before everybody else.”

“We don’t have to rush to make a decision,” Girardi said. “Nova’s going to start on Thursday, we’ll push everybody back a little bit, give some guys some extra rest, which we think is important during this time.”

Chicago couldn’t get anything going off Hughes before the game was called following a 57-minute rain delay before the bottom of the seventh.

He had a rough year. It’s not been easy for him and he’s given up his share of hits. You can see the confidence growing, him being more aggressive as the game went on and not getting away from who he is,” Girardi said. “That’s the best start we’ve seen all year.”

Who should get the No. 5 job, Hughes or Nova? Make your case in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)