Late Saturday morning, Joe Girardi expressed confidence in David Huff and said he hadn't seen anything that would indicate that Huff wouldn't be able to give the Yankees a decent outing and throw about 100 pitches.
With five relievers deemed unavailable coupled with an abundance of uncertainty behind September call-ups who comprise the rest of the bullpen, it was imperative for Huff to go as deep as he possibly could against the Red Sox at the Stadium.
Instead, Huff gave the Yankees an outing that had at least one fan screaming for Phil Hughes (albeit perhaps sarcastically).
"It was terrible," said Huff, who took the struggling Hughes' turn in the rotation, allowed eight hits and was charged with nine runs in 31/3 innings in the Yankees' 13-9 loss. "To come off what I've been doing here and to have that happen today, it was just embarrassing on my behalf."
Huff (2-1), making his first Yankees start, allowed a two-run homer by Mike Napoli in the second and a three-run shot by Jonny Gomes in the third. An RBI double by Shane Victorino in the fourth knocked him out.
"I started out aggressive that first inning,'' Huff said, "and as soon as the home run happened, I started to get too fine with my pitches and started to nibble a little bit."
Huff recorded one of his two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 first inning. Then the Red Sox went 8-for-15 against him.
Huff said nerves had nothing to do with his performance. "We're in a playoff push and it doesn't matter who we're playing,'' he said. "Each game is a big game."
Girardi said he has not made a decision regarding another start for Huff, who had been 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 16 innings of relief after being selected off waivers from Cleveland in late May.