I spoke with Phil Hughes this morning about the column I did yesterday regarding his struggle to make the starting rotation this season and the possibility that he could start the year in the bullpen. Hughes said he fully understood why he's in this position, locked in a battle for the last spot with Freddy Garcia, a 35-year-old journeyman.
"I don't really worry about it,'' he said. "But I do realize that I'm not the young guy coming up anymore, not so much in age, but in service time.''
When I repeated to him what Joe Girardi said on Thursday -- "It's a little strange, five years in camp and his role is not clearly defined'' -- Hughes said, "That is disturbing, but it's all on my shoulders. I just have to go out there this spring and prove that I belong in the rotation. I can't worry about it. I just have to go out and do it.''
Clearly, Hughes thinks he can. Do you?