After starting the season by losing 8 of their first 9 (and even more distubringly, putting a St. Edwards alumnus behind the plate), the Mets’ short-season Class A Brooklyn Cyclones have rebounded nicely, winning 5 of their last 6, including last night’s 1-0 decision over Staten Island. Brooklyn’s Jake Ruckle (shown above) threw a one-hitter over 8 and 2/3rds innings.

The Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch
compares and contrasts the urgency shown by the Mets in promoting Mike Pelfrey this weekend, with the Yankees’ uncharacteristic patience in the handling of starlet Philip Hughes.

So who’s more nervous today? Pick your analyst’s couch. The fact that the Mets are rushing Mike Pelfrey to Shea after just 16 minor league starts for his major league debut Saturday against Florida tells you they’re not as comfortable as their double-digit lead in the NL East suggests. General manager Omar Minaya admits this is no casual experiment, saying, “If we’d had a better option, we would’ve chosen it.”

Meanwhile, the Yankees’ insistence on keeping Philip Hughes at Trenton — and off the trading block — means GM Brian Cashman is willfully risking not making the playoffs for the first time since 1993.

Good for the Yankees, is what most baseball people were saying this week, even as Cashman found himself in George Steinbrenner’s cross hairs. The owner icily said the responsibility of improving the Yankees’ chances for the postseason was “entirely in Brian’s hands.”

In past years, that would’ve been the starter’s gun to a panic trade. But in the words of one major league executive, there is no such magic bullet available to the Yankees this year, which is why they’d be wise to hang on to Hughes.

“If [the Yankees] are smart about it, Hughes might take them to the playoffs for the next 10 years, because he’s that good,” said the executive. Cashman is well aware of his prize possession. Not only is he keeping Hughes away from the Bronx, he won’t even promote him to Class AAA until 2007.

And not even the Mets’ decision to promote Pelfrey will alter the Yankees’ plans.

“These are two different pitchers, two different cases,” Cashman said Thursday. “I’ve never seen Pelfrey pitch so I can’t comment on that, but the biggest difference is that Pelfrey [22] is two years older, he’s pitched in college. Hughes was drafted in 2004. Right now he would be a college sophomore. There’s an appropriate time and place to bring him up, but New York City is not it. He’s developing nicely where he is.”