Phil Hughes, SP, New York Yankees
The Yankees made the 24-year-old right-hander skip a start to rest his arm. The result: Hughes’ worst outing of the year. Hughes allowed six earned runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings as New York lost to Seattle 7-4 on Tuesday. He had won his previous five starts before the loss to the Mariners and arguably had been New York’s best pitcher this season. He will try and bounce back on Sunday against the slumping Blue Jays, who have fallen off the pace in the AL East race. Regardless of how he pitches against Toronto, Hughes (10-2, 3.58 ERA, 81 strikeouts in 88 innings) certainly deserves an All-Star bid. – Jeffrey Tomik


1. Injury bug bites again » All-Star second basemen Chase Utley (Phillies) and Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox) are expected to miss more than a month of games due to injury. Utley is out due to a severely torn ligament in his right thumb.  Pedroia fouled a fastball off his left foot and ended up breaking it. Both are crucial elements to teams that have seen a fair share of injuries this season. The Red Sox have been missing starting pitcher Josh Beckett and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury for the majority of the season. The Phillies have lost third basemen Placido Polanco for the next three to four weeks and former MVP Jimmy Rollins has only played 20 games entering the weekend.

2. Hamilton on fire » June was a fantastic month for the Texas Rangers, who took the lead in the American League West on the strength of a 21-6 record. A big reason was Josh Hamilton, who finally caught his stride. The Home Run Derby legend and former AL Silver Slugger injected himself into the MVP race by driving in a league leading 31 runs, hammering nine home runs and batting .454 in June. Hamilton already has more homers and RBI than he did all of last season. As the division race progresses, the Rangers will need their slugger to continue producing solid numbers to hold off the Angels.

3. Diamondbacks looking elsewhere » After a disappointing start for the Arizona Diamondbacks, team president Derrick Hall is taking “a first and major step in the re-evaluation of our team.”  General manager Josh Brynes and manager A.J. Hinch have been fired following a 31-48 start. Brynes had been general manager since late 2005. Hinch joins four other managers who have been fired this season: Florida’s Fredi Gonzalez, Baltimore’s Dave Trembley and Kansas City’s Trey Hillman. As the Diamondbacks’ manager, Hinch posted an overall record of 89-123 (a winning percentage of .420 — second lowest in Diamondbacks history). Bench coach Kirk Gibson takes over as interim manager.

— Storylines by Nabeel Ahmadieh, Special to The Washington Examiner

Phillies at Braves, Monday-Wednesday
The first game of this series will air on ESPN and it would be a good opportunity for the Phillies to show they’re still contenders. Entering Friday’s games, Atlanta led the NL East by four games over Philadelphia (and by two over New York), but that can change quickly as Phillies are in Pittsburgh (the worst team in the NL) preceding their showdown in Atlanta. However, the Phillies have been experiencing feast or famine offensive nights (sound familiar Nats fans?) while the Braves scored five runs or more in 12 out of 28 games in June. As usual it will come down to pitching — and the Phillies have the top of their rotation (24 wins) going against the bottom half of the Braves’ hurlers (15 wins). — Leon Saffelle