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LAA@NYY: Girardi on Hughes' disappointing outing

Both Anthony Swarzak and Phil Hughes are 0-2, but neither pitcher's record tells the whole story.

Swarzak -- who will oppose Hughes when the Twins and Yankees square off on Thursday -- has pitched well both times out, but hasn't been backed by enough offense. Minnesota has scored only one run in each of the right-hander's starts.

Swarzak held the Orioles to just one run on four hits in five innings in his first outing. On Friday, he yielded four runs in seven innings against a high-powered Rangers lineup.

Hughes, on the other hand, has been more deserving of his winless record. In his first start, he lasted 4 2/3 innings, laboring through 99 pitches. He took the loss despite allowing just two runs. Hughes departed even earlier on Saturday. The righty surrendered six runs on eight hits in just 3 1/3 innings in a 7-1 loss to the Angels.

"He's gotten into longer counts, No. 1, and hasn't been able to put hitters away," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "And No. 2, he's made some mistakes up. He's gotten plenty of strikeouts up, but he's also made plenty of mistakes up.

"There's a fine line when you pitch up there. If you don't get it high enough, a lot of times it's gonna be hit hard. So when he chooses to go up in the zone for strikeouts, he's gotta make sure he gets it there."

Girardi said pitchers such as Hughes and Freddy Garcia, who have both struggled, should be focused on improving, and not the status of their rotation spot.

"I think they're probably all going to think about it, but they all thought about it in Spring Training and it worked out well," Girardi said. "The one thing they need to understand -- and I think they do -- is you just have to take care of your own business and see what happens."

Twins: Hughes designated for assignment
• Minnesota designated infielder Luke Hughes for assignment to clear room for pitcher Jason Marquis, who started against the Yankees on Wednesday and earned the victory after giving up four runs on seven hits in five innings.

"We needed to carry 13 pitchers and we had a couple decisions to make, and this is the decision we made," said Twins general manager Terry Ryan. "I'm not going to get into individuals and playing one guy against another, because it's not fair to him or other players. It's just the decision we came to."

Hughes appeared in just four games for Minnesota, hitting .200 with two RBIs. The Twins have 10 days to trade him, release him or pass him through waivers. He hit .223 with seven homers in 317 plate appearances last season.

"I hope to stay in the big leagues," Hughes said. "Hopefully some team values what I do and that I get an opportunity to go out and play. If that doesn't happen, we'll have to go through the process of what to do.

"Do I want to be back here again? I have no idea. I haven't really thought about it. Fingers crossed, someone values what I can do and I can go out there and play. Obviously the next few days will be interesting. I guess it's a waiting game now."

• Reliever Glen Perkins had been dealing with inflammation in his left forearm since an appearance on Sunday, but is expected to be available to pitch on Thursday.

"We got great news on Perk," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He threw a 40-pitch session out there in the bullpen there in Minnesota, and everything went great. He didn't feel anything, and the doctor said he looks great."

Yankees: Jeter sizzling at the dish
• Eighteen years into his big league career, hardly anything Derek Jeter does can be considered surprising. That includes the stellar start he is off to at the age of 37. Through 12 games, the shortstop is batting .389 with four homers and 10 RBIs with a 1.089 OPS. He connected on a homer in the ninth inning Wednesday to pull the Yankees to within 6-5, but New York lost by that margin.

"He's looking good," second baseman Robinson Cano said. "I'm happy. People keep talking about his age and all that. I like seeing him get off to a good start."

• Hughes posted a 1.56 ERA in 17 1/3 innings during Spring Training, so his slow start to the regular season has been baffling to catcher Russell Martin.

"I didn't catch every start he had in Spring Training, but the ones I did, he had all pitches on those days," Martin said. "He had his changeup working for him, his cutter was solid, his breaking ball was probably the pitch that I saw get better after last year.

"But I think, for the most part, it was keeping his fastball down, and then he was able to elevate, because he likes doing that. He's had success doing that. It all goes back to fastball command."

Worth noting

• Alex Rodriguez, who didn't start Wednesday, is tied for fifth on the all-time home run list with Ken Griffey Jr. Both players have 630 career long balls.

• Twins pitcher Nick Blackburn, who is missing his scheduled start against the Yankees on Thursday because of shoulder stiffness, is hopeful that he'll make his next start Tuesday against the Red Sox.

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