Joe Girardi chooses to keep eye on Phil Hughes

Yankees' pitcher Phil Hughes during Spring Training. (Feb.

Yankees' pitcher Phil Hughes during Spring Training. (Feb. 22, 2012) (Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Joe Girardi, with a choice of games to watch Sunday, is choosing the 2 ½-hour drive to Fort Myers to watch Phil Hughes pitch against the Twins in a split-squad game.

That means Girardi is passing on watching Mariano Rivera make his spring training debut at home against the Phillies, along with CC Sabathia's second exhibition start.

All of which makes perfect sense to Hughes.

"You pretty much know what you're going to get from CC and Mo," Hughes said. "And obviously I'm in a spot where I need to impress some people this spring."

Hughes pitched OK against the Pirates in his debut Tuesday, allowing four hits and two runs, one earned, in 11/3 innings. The most encouraging part of the outing was that Hughes consistently hit 93 mph with his fastball.

"I want to see him pitch. I want to see him build off of what he did the last time," Girardi said. "I was pleased with what I saw the other day."

Hughes is in a competition with Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda for the three available rotation spots, and Girardi said his evaluation won't begin until the pitchers' third or even fourth starts.

 

Relief tempered with caution

Brian Cashman, while relieved that David Robertson was diagnosed with nothing worse than a bone bruise in his right foot, said the oddity of the injury will have the Yankees playing it cautious before the setup man returns to the mound.

"Since I've been with the Yankees in the late '80's, I don't recall [any players] having bruised metatarsals," Cashman said. "How long will it take for him to be weight-bearing and pain- free? That's still a gray area for me, so we have to be extra-cautious."

 

Extra bases

Eduardo Nuñez, out since getting hit in the right hand with a pitch Monday against the Phillies, felt some soreness taking BP Saturday and will be held out "a couple of more days," Girardi said . . . Boone Logan, whose scheduled bullpen session Friday was postponed because of a stiff neck, played catch . . . Austin Romine, sidelined since the first week of camp with inflammation in his lower back, is close to returning to baseball activities.

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