Afternoon News And Notes: Hughes, Neal, Huff

Before we get started, there is currently an untelevised game going on, and Yankee pitchers have been getting crushed. Jose Ramirez started today's game and only earned one out before giving up 4 walks and 2 hits. Adam Warren came on in relief and was equally awful against the Blue Jays, giving up 4 hits and 5 walks in 1.1 innings. Branden Pinder fared slightly better by only giving up 3 hits in his 1.1 innings, but one of those was a solo home run by Mark DeRosa. They plated one more run, and by the fourth inning, Toronto was up 17-3. Don't be too distraught, this is what happens when major league hitters face Single-A pitchers at this point in Spring, though Warren has fewer excuses. Phil Hughes threw a bullpen this morning, and he said that he felt great on the mound. Though his command was off, he attributed it to the bullpen scenario. The right-hander also stated that he's preparing to be ready for the 5th or 6th game of the season, but prefers quality starts over the quantity. With the way Ivan Nova and David Phelps have been pitching, the Yankees will give Hughes all the time he needs.

Zoilo Almonte was optioned down to Triple-A yesterday, making Melky Mesa the standout for the third outfield spot. Although Mesa hasn't been too hot at the plate, he's hit 2 home runs this spring, and showed off speed and great defense. Today, Joe Girardi indicated to Mark Feinsand that Thomas Neal is still in the outfield mix. Neal has been much more impressive at the plate, with 7 hits, 1 home run, 2 walks, (.915 OPS) and 2 stolen bases in his 23 plate appearances. Neal has a bit more experience at the Triple-A level, and a handful of at bats more at the Major League level. The only thing that Mesa has in his favor is his defense and a spot on the 40-Man Roster.

Finally, there's been a lot of speculation about the Yankees talking to Aubery Huff, but the answer is "No." Huff stated last week that he was "pretty much retired", but that hasn't stopped the media from linking him to the Yankees. Now we can put this rumor to rest.