As recently as Tuesday afternoon, Joe Girardi had said that Phil Hughes -- despite a 4-13 record and a 4.86 ERA -- would remain in the rotation and pitch against the Red Sox on Saturday. But apparently the manager could not ignore the numbers.
After the Yankees' 6-4 victory over the White Sox Tuesday night, Girardi said that David Huff would be starting Saturday at the Stadium, with Hughes relegated to the bullpen.
"It's been an up-and-down year for Phil and Huff's been throwing the ball well," Girardi said. "We're just going to make the change."
Huff is 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA in nine games for the Yankees. He relieved Hughes after a long rain delay Monday and allowed one run in 52/3 innings to Chicago in the Yankees' 9-1 victory.
"I'm really looking forward to it," said Huff, a 29-year-old lefthander whom the Yankees claimed off waivers from Cleveland in May. "I'm happy about it. I'm just trying to go out there and help the team out as much as possible, whether it's an inning out of the bullpen or a start."
Hughes is 1-9 with a 5.68 ERA at Yankee Stadium. One of those defeats came in his only 2013 start against Boston on June 1. Hughes allowed five runs in 41/3 innings in an 11-1 loss.
Kuroda looks better
Hiroki Kuroda, who had lost his previous three starts while allowing 19 runs (15 earned) in 162/3 innings, was better Tuesday night. He gave up four runs in 61/3 innings after skipping his regular bullpen session to combat fatigue.
"I thought his stuff was better," Girardi said. "And that's a good sign to me."
Jeter ninth on all-time hits list
With his third-inning infield single, Derek Jeter (2-for-3, HBP) passed Eddie Collins for ninth place on all-time hits list. He has 3,315.
Major League Baseball announced the postseason schedule and an American League wild-card playoff game will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 2. With the Yankees going into last nightTuesday night trailing division leader Boston by eight games in the AL East and only 21/2 games behind Tampa Bay for the second wild card, the extra spot would seem to be their best bet to make the playoffs.
Girardi acknowledged it's not too early for him to scoreboard watch.
"It's pretty hard not to scoreboard watch because it's right in front of you," he said. "It's flashed in every ballpark, so you always notice what teams are doing. Does it take your attention away from the game? No, but it's really pretty hard not to look."
Around the bases
With his third-inning infield single, Derek Jeter passed Eddie Collins for ninth place on baseball's all-time hits list with 3,314 . . . Ichiro Suzuki did not start against lefthander Chris Sale, even though he was batting .338 vs. lefties this season. One reason: Sale had held lefties to a .140 batting average and .155 slugging percentage this season.