The Yankees will not send Phil Hughes to the minors to start the season, instead keeping him on the 25-man roster while he pitches two extended spring training games, April 5 and April. 10. He'll make his first regular season start April 15 against the Angels.
Girardi said the innings in the extended spring games won’t count toward Hughes’ innings limit, which the Yankees haven’t publicized but is believed to be in the neighborhood of 170.
“You can manage a game,” Girardi explained of why the extended spring innings won’t count. “Let’s say he goes 25 pitches, you can stop the inning. You can do a lot of different things you can’t do it in a real game.”
Hughes will be extended to 90-100 pitches April 5, then be dialed back the way the other Yankees’ starters have been in their final spring starts.
“We feel this is a good way to get him up to where he needs to be,” Girardi said.
Sending Hughes to the minors, which would allow the Yankees to take advantage of an extra roster spot, was considered but the club decided against it.
“There’s a situation that could arise where you might need him to make a spot start,” Girardi said. “Or you get rained out and they want to play a split doubleheader, that sort of thing. Obviously that’s something you could do [send him down] but there could be a situation where we say, hey, we need you. If you send him down, then you don’t have him.”
In other words, if the Yankees sent Hughes down, they couldn’t recall him for at least 10 days unless there was an injury.
Hughes said he’s fine with it.
“It gives me time to work some more,” Hughes said. “It’s basically like two extra spring starts. It’ll be fine.”
*** Girardi disclosed after the game that Francisco Cervelli underwent an MRI today because of a hamstring issue that cropped up Tuesday, though one that isn't thought to be serious.
“He called it a little pinch, but it didn’t bother him,” Girardi said. “So we just decided, let’s go get an MRI just to make sure.”
Girardi did not have the results of the MRI but said he'll hold Cervelli, who took batting practice yesterday and will catch in the bullpen today, out until Saturday.
“If the MRI tells us something different than he’s feeling, and he feels pretty good, then you might have to make an adjustment,” Girardi said
*** Alfredo Aceves, out with a sore lower back, threw 20 pitches off a mound today and is on schedule to pitch Friday.
*** The plan is still for Mark Teixeira to play in tomorrow's game against the Blue Jays in Dunedin.
*** Denard Span, who in a horrifying moment hit his mother with a stinging line drive foul in the first inning, reported on his Twitter account that: "My mom is feeling ok right now!”