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Yankees change course, bring Phil Hughes back to rotation Saturday against Tigers

Phil Hughes delivers a pitch in the bullpen

Phil Hughes delivers a pitch in the bullpen during spring training at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. (Feb. 16, 2013) Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

DETROIT -- Phil Hughes was in Tampa early Friday night, preparing to fly to the New York area before heading to Scranton, Pa., to pitch one more rehab game. Instead, the righthander flew to Detroit and will start Saturday's game against the Tigers, general manager Brian Cashman said. Scheduled starter David Phelps will shift to the bullpen as the long man. The Yankees' bullpen already has been taxed because of short outings by Hiroki Kuroda, who was injured Wednesday, and Ivan Nova, who wasn't very good Friday.

Hughes, sidelined since Feb. 18 with two bulging discs in his back, threw seven innings in a minor-league game Monday, and the feeling afterward was that his stuff was good enough to get major-league hitters out. Cashman's preference was for Hughes to get one more rehab outing. But when Nova lasted only 42/3 innings, that was enough to bring Hughes to Motown.

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