Phil Hughes played catch during the Yankees nine-run sixth inning and was prepared to go back into the game until pitching coach Dave Eiland told him late in the inning that he was done.
“It probably takes an inning away from him is what we’re able to do there,” manager Joe Girardi said.
Hughes’ innings limit, though, played no part in the decision, Eiland said. The bottom of the sixth took 34 minutes, and the Yankees didn’t want Hughes to go back after that much time on the bench.
But at some point, Hughes innings limit will come into play, and that could happen fairly soon.
“We have a plan in place, and we’re going to bear down on it here in the next few days,” Eiland said. “When Joe’s ready to announce it, he’ll announce it.”
Even Hughes doesn’t know what his limit is, but the general thinking is that it’s probably around 180 innings. Hughes is at 140.2 innings, and Eiland said Hughes would make “roughly” eight starts if he were to make every scheduled start the rest of the way. Figuring six innings per start, that puts Hughes on track for about 188 innings for the season. That’s not too crazy, and it’s not as if Hughes is about to reach that number next week.
“I’m not anywhere creeping into the 180, 190 range,” he said.
Andy Pettitte’s injury and Javier Vazquez’s struggles will have no impact on the plan for Hughes, Eiland said. Neither will the Yankees pennant race.
“You’ve got to put his career first,” Eiland said. “That’s what this whole thing is about.”
Associated Press photo