Yankees starting pitcher Phil Hughes takes a breather in the...

Yankees starting pitcher Phil Hughes takes a breather in the top of the third. (Aug. 10, 2013) Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

With seven games left in the regular season, it is possible that Yankees fans have seen the last of Phil Hughes as a starter.

Before Saturday's game against the Giants, Joe Girardi was asked if he plans to keep Hiroki Kuroda and CC Sabathia on normal rest, using Monday's off day to skip the struggling Hughes. That would line up Kuroda, Sabathia and Ivan Nova to pitch against the Rays Tuesday through Thursday at Yankee Stadium in a series that will have a big impact on whether they reach the postseason.

Said Girardi, "It's something we have discussed, and we have to make a decision pretty quick about what we're going to do."

Hughes could return to pitch in the final three games of the season against the Astros if the Yankees fall out of the wild-card race and those games become meaningless.

A-Rod back to third soon?

Girardi said he still wants to play Alex Rodriguez at third base before the end of the season, though he added that the earliest it could be is Tuesday against the Rays.

A-Rod also said he would like to play third before the end of the season. But with Mark Reynolds and Eduardo Nuñez playing well there, Girardi was asked what the advantage would be of using him at third instead of DH.

"You can move your lineup around a little bit," he said. "Maybe you DH someone else, that sort of thing. And the experience. He's played there, and he's played well there. And if you have Alex at third and you play Mark at first against a lefthander, it allows you to do some things with [Nuñez] and that sort of thing."

Gardner not doing much

It looks at though Brett Gardner (strained oblique) is done for the season.

"He's not really doing too much," Girardi said. "He'll probably start some light exercises, and when I say that, just kind of turning and stuff. But there's not a whole lot there yet."

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