With Phil Hughes locked into the fifth starter spot and Chad Gaudin released into free agency, the Yankees have only one pitching decision to make: Whether to carry a second lefty.
If the Yankees carry all three of their leftover starters, then the seven-man bullpen will have no room for either Boone Logan or Royce Ring. But Joe Girardi wouldn’t rule out the idea of sending Hughes to Triple-A for the first few games of the season and carrying eight relievers until the Yankees actually need a fifth starter.
“Those are things we still have to talk about,” Girardi said.
The Yankees could keep their top four starters on normal rest — or even extra rest — and still not need a fifth starter until April 17, their 11th game of the season. Girardi cautioned about skipping his fifth starter too often because it leaves his top four starters with more innings than he’d like at the end of the year, but it does seem to be a possibility.
“The only danger in skipping a guy a lot is you give the other guys too many starts,” Girardi said. “You can do it some. That is the next thing that we will iron out. We will probably try to do that in the next few days, how exactly we attack (Hughes innings limit). Try to take what we learned from last year, in a sense.”