Looks like the Hughes Rules are finally being unveiled, and it’s nothing as unusual as what happened last year with Joba Chamberlain. MLB.com has the story:
The Yankees have four scheduled days off in June and another five in July, including a four-day All-Star break and the Monday immediately following the break. That could enable them to give Hughes extra time off with perhaps only minor tinkering of the rotation. ESPNNewYork.com noted that because of the schedule, manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Dave Eiland could go without adjusting their rotation at all and still get Hughes a fifth day off in five of his next eight starts, including Friday’s against the Indians in New York.
Then, they would likely start Hughes as many as four days prior to the All-Star break and schedule his first post-break start for July 20 or 21, giving him nearly two weeks off.
Basically, the Yanks are following the restrictions that worked so well with Rick Porcello of the Tigers last year. Extra day here and there, and two weeks off book ending the All Star break. No one (including Girardi himself) wanted to repeat the disjointed, failed experiment made with Joba Chamberlain in 2009. Girardi stated late last year that had no plans to use Joba that way, but the early season loss of Chien Ming Wang and ineffectiveness of Sergio Mitre forced Girardi to start someone, and with Hughes in the bullpen the best option available appeared at the time to be Joba in small doses, particularly after Joba’s hot stretch after the All Star break last year. The Yankee rotation didn’t really settle down last year until the Yanks picked up Chad Gaudin in mid-August and he emerged as a reliable starter the following month. Fans may recall that Gaudin’s effectiveness was the result of working with Dave Eiland on refining his slider, which took a few weeks of bullpen work. So at the time the decision to use Joba in abbreviated starts was made, it was the best of a group of poor choices from a series of unforeseen events.
Another note, there’s a chance Hughes gets selected to the All-Star Game this year. Joe Girardi is the AL manager and gets to fill out the Pitchers and reserves. Phil would certainly merit serious consideration, he is currently among the AL Leaders in Wins (3rd) WHIP (5th) and ERA (6th) among qualifiers. The Yanks may decide to reward Phil with an All-Star selection for a job well done this year, and may want to raise his profile as being an elite pitcher at a young age. But even if chosen, I think there’s zero chance he’ll actually pitch in that game. The Yanks will want him to get his rest and won’t put an exhibition game ahead of his health.
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