NEW YORK (AP) -Phil Hughes' place in the New York Yankees rotation is up in the air with the young right-hander off to a rough start this season.
Hughes lasted just 3 2-3 innings in a 6-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night. He allowed six runs and eight hits to drop to 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA after six starts.
Both general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi admitted Wednesday to having discussions about Hughes. New York could send the 21-year-old to the minors, move him to the bullpen or let him work through his difficulties in the rotation.
``We obviously went through a tough time last night and he's struggling so we've had some discussions earlier today and we'll get together and have some further ones,'' Cashman said.
Girardi was asked repeatedly about Hughes' status for his next scheduled start Sunday against Seattle and refused to say much more than he's in the rotation right now.
``These are internal discussions that are meant to stay internal and that's basically all I can say,'' he said.
Hughes, one of the mostly highly regarded young pitchers in the organization, was mentioned in offseason trade talks with the Minnesota Twins about Johan Santana. Hughes went 5-3 with a 4.46 ERA in 13 starts with New York last year.
``In the short term we'll evaluate what's best for the player as well as what's best for our club,'' Cashman said.
Hughes isn't the only young Yankees hurler in a funk. Ian Kennedy is 0-2 with an 8.53 ERA heading into his start against Detroit on Thursday.
Team co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner, who has been outspoken about wanting setup man Joba Chamberlain in the rotation, said he hasn't lost his patience with Hughes and Kennedy.
``They're 21 and 23,'' he said in Tampa, Fla. ``They've been thrown into the fire, and the fact is it will take time.''
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AP freelance writer Mark Didtler in Tampa, Fla., contributed to this report.

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