Yankees survive without Hughes? 

May, 2, 2007
05/02/07
3:36
AM ET
If the Yankees fail to reach the postseason for the first time since 1995, the moment we remember might be this one: Phil Hughes is 70.4 percent into a no-hitter, when he feels something pop. For 6 1/3 innings, he was exactly what the Yankees so desperately needed. Or seemed to so desperately need. (In the race last night to suggest Hughes' injury is a "bad omen," I think Hat Guy was the winner.)

Realistically, though? If Hughes is really going to miss four to six weeks, his loss probably costs the Yankees something like one win. Maybe two. Maybe none. There just isn't that much difference, over that short a span, between Hughes and whoever's going to pick up his starts.

Can you imagine the Yankees zooming into first place without a healthy Hughes? I sure can. They've outscored every other team in the American League, and their run differential is fourth-best in the AL. One certainly can imagine a starting rotation that includes Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte doing pretty well, or at least well enough. The bullpen's loaded with question marks, of course, but if you're a well-heeled team, the bullpen might be the easiest thing to fix.

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