Associated Press Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -Phil Hughes was cruising along in his second major league start, recording out after out and moving closer to making baseball history.
The New York Yankees right-hander threw one more pitch, reached down at his left leg and the excitement suddenly turned to disappointment.
The highly touted Hughes carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning Tuesday night before a hamstring injury knocked him out of the game. The team's prized prospect is expected to miss four to six weeks, a sour end to an otherwise encouraging night for New York, which beat Texas 10-1.
``I'm definitely frustrated,'' the 20-year-old rookie said. ``It's tough, especially when the team really needs a win. We got it tonight, but it's going to be disappointing in the next five to 10 days when I'm not going to be out there. We're at a point right now where our rotation really needs it.''
Hughes (1-1) became the latest New York pitcher to go down, two starts after he was called up from Triple-A Scranton to fill a spot in the team's depleted rotation. Mike Mussina (hamstring), Carl Pavano (forearm) and Jeff Karstens (broken right leg) are on the disabled list. Chien-Ming Wang also missed the first three weeks of the season with a hamstring injury.
``It's unfortunate because he put himself in a position to fit into our rotation,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said. He later termed the injuried to his pitchers ``one of those freak things.''
Hank Blalock broke up the no-hit bid with a leadoff double in the eighth against reliever Mike Myers, but the real damage had already been done.
Hughes, considered one of the top prospects in baseball, threw an 0-2 breaking ball to Mark Teixeira with one out in the seventh when he winced and grabbed the back of his left thigh. He was removed after 83 pitches with a 9-0 lead.
Hughes said he was trying to finish Teixeira with a hard curveball when he likely overextended over his front foot and felt a pop.
He said he wasn't in pain after the game, but wouldn't have been able to keep pitching. After being pulled, he walked gingerly back to the dugout, where he received a warm reception from teammates.
Hughes struck out six and walked three. When he left, he was eight outs from the Yankees' first no-hitter since David Cone's perfect game in 1999.
``It was going to happen,'' Torre said. ``That was the sense in the dugout.''
Instead, the Yankees lost another starting pitcher despite winning for only the second time in 10 games.
Before the game, general manager Brian Cashman said that while Hughes ``is not here to be a savior,'' he was a permanent call-up whose development ``is now in the big leagues.''
After the game, Cashman appeared exasperated at losing another arm.
``It's been frustrating,'' he said. ``We seem to be getting hit every day.''
Ian Kinsler followed Blalock's double with an RBI single. Myers finished the eighth and Luis Vizcaino worked the ninth to complete the two-hitter.
``You want to give credit to the opposing pitcher, but at the same time you have to be unhappy where the offense is,'' said Rangers shortstop Michael Young, who was 0-for-4. ``Getting two hits is not good enough.''
New York went 9-14 in April and finished the month 6 1/2 games behind first-place Boston in the AL East. That roused owner George Steinbrenner to issue his first public remarks of the season Monday, at once throwing his support behind Torre and rebuking the team for its record.
Steinbrenner's vote of confidence in Torre and Cashman silenced, at least temporarily, speculation that their jobs were in jeopardy. But the notoriously demanding owner also termed the start by his $195 million club ``clearly not acceptable.''
Against the Rangers, Steinbrenner's comments seemed to cajole the Yankees to their most lopsided win of the season. The timing of the rout was similar to a 19-8 win over Tampa Bay in 2005, which followed an even more scathing lashing of his team following a 4-8 start that year.
Robinson Cano broke out of a 1-for-18 slump by going 4-for-5 with three RBIs and two doubles. Jorge Posada had three hits, three runs and two RBIs. Alex Rodriguez added three hits to raise his batting average to .371.
The Yankees also took advantage of three Texas errors.
Posada's two-run double highlighted a four-run third against Kameron Loe (1-2) that made it 6-0. New York added three in the fifth on RBI doubles by Hideki Matsui and Posada, and a run-scoring single by Cano.
Before Tuesday's game, Torre said he hoped to hear no more questions about his future. He also blamed part of Yankees' recent trouble scoring runs on players ``trying too hard.''
Against the Rangers, it seemed as though the Yankees hardly had to try. New York's lineup battered Loe for four-plus innings, getting 10 hits and nine runs - seven earned.
Before Tuesday's win, New York became the first major league team to use five or more pitchers in 10 straight games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Notes: Longtime Yankees broadcaster Bobby Murcer returned to the YES Network booth for the first time since having surgery on a malignant brain tumor in December. ``Everything is going along really well for me,'' said Murcer, who plans to work 50 games this season. ... Yankees CF Johnny Damon sat out, but expects to be in the lineup Wednesday. He has been bothered by a bad back and visited a chiropractor in Florida on Monday. ... Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 18 games and finished 1-for-4 with two walks. Dating to last season, he's hit safely in 57 of 59 games.
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