Hughes' missing velocity may be in windup
Looking for answers, Yanks righty tweaks delivery in session
BOSTON -- Phil Hughes focused more on using his lower half during a bullpen session on Sunday at Fenway Park, which the right-hander hopes may help him reclaim some of his missing velocity.
"Even though I'm fairly confident it's more of an arm strength issue, I'm still trying to clean some things up in my delivery and hopefully get things back on track," said Hughes, who will next start on Wednesday against the Orioles in New York.
Hughes said that pitching coach Larry Rothschild reviewed video of him and spotted a slight mechanical difference in his lower body, where Hughes was more deliberate with his delivery last season. The Yankees are hoping there is a correlation.
"It's impossible to tell," Hughes said. "If I knew the answer, I'd get on it as soon as possible. We're just trying to find anything we can to get things right again and get back on track."
Despite the dip in velocity that has Hughes living mostly between 88 and 90 mph, the Yankees have said that since the right-hander has not complained of any injury-related issues, there is no reason to send him to be checked out by team medical staff.
Hughes said he would get no additional peace of mind from such a visit.
"Not really," Hughes said. "I'd feel it if I was [hurt]. I don't really feel like it's an issue."
Flu sidelines A-Rod; Chavez starts
BOSTON -- Alex Rodriguez was scratched from the Yankees' starting lineup in Sunday's 4-0 loss due to flu-like symptoms and was replaced by Eric Chavez at third base for the series finale against the Red Sox.
A club spokesman said Rodriguez came off the field early during batting practice and was resting on a couch in the clubhouse, and manager Joe Girardi said after the game that Rodriguez was not even available to pinch-hit.
"He's sick -- he's got the flu," Girardi said. "Hopefully, if he rests today and rests tomorrow, he'll be back to full strength on Wednesday. He just looked wiped out."
With Rodriguez out of the cleanup spot, Robinson Cano moved up to fourth in New York's order against Boston right-hander Josh Beckett, who struck out 10 batters and scattered two singles over eight innings.
Chavez, who banged out his first three hits in a Yankees uniform on Saturday as the designated hitter, made his first start in the field for New York and went 1-for-3.
After scorching start, Teixeira cools off
BOSTON -- Mark Teixeira entered Sunday's series finale at Fenway Park hitless in his previous 15 at-bats, but the Yankees weren't ready to wonder if his old April tricks are at play.
"He's just missing balls a little bit, that's all," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I thought he put some pretty good swings on. [Dustin] Pedroia made a great play on him yesterday -- he seems to be all over the place. It seems like there are two of [Pedroia] out there. But he's just missing balls a little bit. And you're seeing good pitching, there's no doubt about it."
Teixeira started the year with six hits in his first 18 at-bats, including four homers, before diving into his mini-funk with three straight hitless contests.
"The one thing, if it does happen, he's shown he's going to come out of it and be productive," Girardi said.
Prior progressing in transition to bullpen
BOSTON -- Mark Prior has pitched on consecutive days for the first time as he tries to convert to relief and make it back to the big leagues for the first time since 2006.
The right-hander threw a scoreless inning Sunday for Class A Tampa against Lakeland, walking one during his 20-pitch outing. On Saturday, Prior recorded a strikeout in a scoreless inning against Detroit's Class A team.
"That's when the secondary pitches come into play," Prior said, according to The Associated Press. "It was a step forward. My arm feels fine."
Prior's fastball reached 91 mph in both games and averaged around 90, the AP noted. Prior has said that he is willing to prove his health at the Minor League level and could be promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre later in the year. Prior can opt out of his Minor League contract in late June.
The AP also reported that right-hander Kevin Millwood is scheduled to make his second and possibly final extended spring start on Tuesday. The 36-year-old agreed to a Minor League deal on March 25 and is expected to be sent to Triple-A this month. He can opt out on May 1 if he is not added to the big league roster.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.