ARLINGTON -- On an evening when the Yankees would have appreciated some positive news on the pitching front, Phil Hughes only added to the concern level, forced to watch the end of the third inning from the dugout.
Hours after the Yankees announced that Michael Pineda will miss all of 2012 with a torn labrum, Hughes was smacked around early and the Yankees weren't able to rally, suffering a 7-3 defeat to the Rangers on Wednesday at Rangers Ballpark.
"We need wins and we need our guys to do their jobs," Hughes said. "I'm just not doing it right now. I don't think it really matters what the situation is; if you're not performing, something has to change."
Indeed, the Yankees could use some answers from their starters, and after four turns through the rotation, there hasn't been a whole lot of confidence that major contributions are coming from either Hughes or veteran Freddy Garcia.
"It hasn't been great and we've found a way to get to 10-8," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I've got to believe brighter days are ahead for our rotation."
The Yankees dropped the last two contests of their three-game series in Arlington after coming in hot, riding a four-game winning streak after posting a pair of victories over the Red Sox at Fenway Park and then beating Texas' Derek Holland in Monday's opener.
Robbie Ross (4-0) picked up the win with eight outs of perfect relief behind spot starter Scott Feldman. Adrian Beltre provided the fireworks for the Rangers, stroking three hits and driving in three runs, including a solo home run -- his third -- off Hughes in the second inning.
"We were missing, and in counts where guys were ready to hit the ball," Yankees catcher Russell Martin said. "When you make mistakes, guys are going to take advantage of it."
Beltre's blast marked the first regular-season run that Hughes (1-3) had allowed in 16 1/3 innings at Rangers Ballpark, but the Rangers were just getting going.
Texas got to Hughes for three runs in the third inning, a frame in which his last pitch brushed against Nelson Cruz's jersey for a frustrating hit-by-pitch, Hughes' second of the inning after hitting only four batters in the last two seasons.
Elvis Andrus' groundout, Beltre's single to right and Michael Young's double to left brought in the last three runs against Hughes, who scattered five hits and struck out two in a 2 2/3-inning outing.
Girardi brought in Clay Rapada to get a key David Murphy groundout in the third with the bases loaded, avoiding further damage against Hughes, who said he wasn't surprised by the quick hook.
"I haven't really earned the trust to do that this year so far," Hughes said. "That's part of it. Hitting two guys that inning and the way things were going, it wasn't good. He wanted to not let the game get too far out of hand and made the move."
One year after Hughes' velocity was a talking point, his command is keeping him from enjoying success, and Martin said that he isn't sure if Hughes feels completely right.
"I'm not worried. I'm not necessarily a worrier," Martin said. "You just want a guy to execute pitches and feel comfortable on the mound, and right now I'm not sure he's comfortable out there."
In absence of other immediate options, however, Hughes should have a little more rope.
"Our plans are to send him out there again," Girardi said. "As I've said, he's got to keep working at it. We've got to try to find a way to get it right."
New York notched two runs in 3 1/3 innings against Feldman, making his first start of the season after two relief appearances. Both runs came in the fourth, as Raul Ibanez drilled a run-scoring ground-rule double and Eric Chavez collected a sacrifice fly.
Ibanez added a tape-measure home run in the seventh off Neftali Feliz, estimated at 427 feet, to draw the Yankees within four runs at the time.
Texas had tacked on three runs in 2 1/3 innings against long reliever David Phelps, including Mike Napoli's solo home run in the fourth inning and Mitch Moreland's solo blast in the sixth. Beltre also picked up an run-scoring single in the sixth.
With the loss, Hughes is carrying a bloated 7.88 ERA through 16 innings, certainly not the strong start he anticipated given his good spring. He said that he feels a responsibility to iron his issues out.
"That's the case all the time," Hughes said. "Whether we have guys coming back up or not, I'm trying to get this thing right for the team more than anything."