It went largely unnoticed, but I thought this was the biggest story of the day. Brian Cashman said today that Phil Hughes will be working out of the bullpen until Brian Bruney comes back, not as a temporary backup for Chien Ming Wang. Here’s a quote from Brian, referring to their plans with Hughes:
“We’ll see how this plays out over the next few weeks,” Cashman said. “It’s certainly tied to Brian Bruney.”
Unstable Fables: 3 Pigs & a Baby ipod He said it again on the LoHud pregame press conference, if anyone wants to hear it in its full context. He made clear the team still views Phil as a starter long term, as does Phil himself, but they view this as the best use of him short term. He also said how it would be great if Phil did so well in the bullpen that we’d have another ‘Joba to the bullpen’ type debate over where he belongs. With the suspension of AJ Burnett coming down today, it’s likely Hughes gets at least one of those starts, so if Bruney gets healthy quickly its possible he sees very little action out of the pen.
Mike Francesa said on his show that Hughes himself requested this. It’s not new, we all knew Phil wanted to stay in the bigs the last time his place in the rotation came up, and was quoted as saying so. But this appears to be a big shift from the Yankee brass, who seemed to be sending signals recently that after a short while, Hughes would be demoted to AAA.
Bruney is at least a month away, he’s still playing catch at this point. If Bruney doesn’t come back at all, which is not unlikely given how many setbacks he’s had, Hughes could be in the bullpen the rest of the year.
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