The bar has been set this low for Phil Hughes:

Asked Monday morning about his expectations for the struggling righthander, Joe Girardi went the philosophical route.

"To compete,'' he said. "That's all we expect from all of our starters when they go out there -- to compete and just give us everything you've got, and then if we need to make a change, we'll make a change.''

That was necessary in the Yankees' 9-1 win over the White Sox, but it was because of the weather, not a poor performance.

Hughes (4-13) was sharp in the first 11/3 innings, throwing only 20 pitches (14 for strikes) before a dousing rain delayed the game 1 hour, 53 minutes and finished his afternoon.

"The first inning was easy and I was like, 'All right, here we go,' '' catcher Austin Romine said of the 10-pitch, 1-2-3 first. "And then the rain came. That's how it's going for him.''

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Hughes said he will be available to pitch in "a day or so,'' but if Girardi went that route, it would mean that he'd be coming out of the bullpen. And the way David Huff performed -- one run and five hits in 52/3 innings -- Girardi has another option when Hughes' spot next comes up Saturday against the Red Sox.

"There's nothing you can really do about the weather,'' Hughes said. "It's disappointing . . . But at this point in the season, it's not about yourself, it's about getting the win. We need every win we can get right now.''

 

Take a numberWhen catcher J.R. Murphy pinch hit for Robinson Cano in the eighth, he became the 52nd player used by the Yankees this season, which set a franchise record. The 22-year-old Murphy, a Sept. 1 call-up making his major-league debut, reached on an infield single after stinging a ball to third. "I didn't feel it,'' he said. "I was pretty nervous.''

Lefthander Cesar Cabral, one of six call-ups, made his major-league debut in the eighth, allowing a hit and striking out two.

Phelps likely done