Phil Hughes, Yankees: Phil Hughes, who is suffering from a bulging disk in his upper back, so David Phelps, 4-4 in 2012 with a 3.34 ERA, will take his spot in the rotation. Hughes joins Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson on the Yankees’ disabled list for the start of the season. In 2010, Hughes looked like the next great Yankee ace, winning 18 games. Then injuries derailed Hughes in 2011. Last season, the 26-year-old fly-ball pitcher went 16-13 with a 4.23 ERA and 165 strikeouts. The inconsistent Hughes gave up a career-high 35 home runs in nearly 200 innings pitched.
Felix Doubront, Red Sox: The 25-year-old lefty had a strong start to the 2012 season, outperforming Boston’s rotation into June. He struggled during the middle of the season, but had a strong September and finished with an 11-10 record to go along with a 4.86 ERA. Doubront also surprised many when he showed up in spring training in not-so-great shape, but he looked fine in the Grapefruit league logging 22 strikeouts against six walks in 18 innings of work.
The edge: Red Sox. This one is close, but Doubront seems poised to put it all together in 2013 after a breakout start last year.