Asked what he would love to get out of Phil Hughes tonight, Joe Girardi gave his standard answer: Pitch well and go deep into the game. Innings limit or no innings limit, Girardi said, he’ll take seven strong innings any day.
But with Hughes, there is something to be said for taking a quick lead and getting him out of there after five.
“That would be great,” Girardi said. “First of all I’d love to have a big lead after five, then we’d worry about the rest of it later. If you get an opportunity to do that – especially with the day off tomorrow and our bullpen’s in pretty good shape – it would be great.”
One or two innings doesn’t seem like much, but it also doesn’t seem like Hughes is on track to go too far over his limit. The Yankees have kept the actual innings limit a secret, even from Hughes himself, but they’ve acknowledged that it’s a higher limit than the one Joba Chamberlain faced last season. The Yankees have not announced a plan to have Hughes skip a start completely, and it seems vaguely possible that he won’t have to.
“If you can do it (limit his innings) three or four, maybe five times in starts,” Girardi said. “Maybe even two innings in a start. It adds up. It definitely adds up.”
• Nick Swisher has been scratched. Our friend Jack Curry says Curtis Granderson has been bumped to No. 2 in the lineup. Brett Gardner will bat eighth.
• Alfredo Aceves will make another rehab appearance on Friday. Girardi said this one will be with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. “As long as he’s healthy, I think he’s going to be fine,” Girardi said. “He’s going to make another appearance on Friday and that will be the 27th. You can definitely expand rosters on the 1st. We’ll just continue to watch him pitch and get him back.”
• Damaso Marte was supposed to throw a bullpen yesterday but did not. He’s still feeling a little bit sore so the Yankees are going to give him a few more days off before he throws again. Girardi said there’s some slight concern that Marte might not make it back, but it sounds like they ultimately expect him. “There’s some concern about that,” Girardi said.
• Girardi said Javier Vazquez’s relief role could be as a long or a short reliever. Whether he would need extra work to stay stretched out depends on how long he’s out of the rotation. “He threw a bullpen the other day,” Girardi said. “If he’s to miss one start, that’s not going to make a big deal. It’s only if you don’t pitch for a long time that it becomes an issue. When he skipped the one start and came back, we didn’t really change his pitch count.”
• The good thing with Marte is that he doesn’t need to be stretched out at all. Girardi indicated that as long as he works up to a simulated inning, he should be able to come back.
• Friday’s bullpen will be a short one for Andy Pettitte (20 to 25 pitches). After that, he’ll probably need to throw another bullpen and then a sim game before he would be ready for a rehab start.
UPDATE, 6:28 p.m.: Still haven’t seen an official lineup change for the Yankees. It’s going to happen, it just hasn’t been announced. Here’s the Blue Jays lineup.
Fred Lewis LF
Yunel Escobar SS
Jose Bautista RF
Vernon Wells CF
Adam Lind DH
John Buck C
Lyle Overbay 1B
Aaron Hill 2B
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Associated Press photos of Hughes and Swisher with Girardi