In the early innings of yesterday’s game, Dustin Moseley was in the Yankees clubhouse, not an unusual place for the next day’s starting pitcher to be. He had no idea the Yankees coaching staff was looking for him, and he was initially caught a little off guard when they found him and told him to get his cleats on and get to the bullpen. If necessary, the Yankees were going to use him in long relief.
“I’m a realist. I see what’s going on,” Moseley said. “We just have to win some ball games. For the move they made, being a realist, I understand that. You’ve got to go with your guy. We’ve got to win and Phil’s been starting all year long and doing a great job.”
The decision was made yesterday, and Hughes was told last night. He’d thrown his regular bullpen and done his normal flat ground work. He was prepared to make today’s start, just didn’t know he was actually going to make it until a little less than 24 hours ago.
“We wouldn’t have prepared him for this if we didn’t think it was a possibility that he would pitch,” Joe Girardi said. “Usually if we give guys time off, we give them (full) time off.”
Girardi said there were two factors in today’s decision: One was the state of the bullpen, and the other was the state of the wild card.
“We’ve used pretty much every long guy that we’ve had in the last three or four days,” Girardi said. “I couldn’t envision Hughesy being the long guy and Dustin starting… We’ve been going at it hard here, and sometimes it’s hard when your starters don’t give you any distance. All of a sudden you’re using your bullpen a little bit different that day (and) when you do it four days in a row, things can get a little bit messed up.”
A win tonight — against the team that’s chasing them in the wild card — would cut the Yankees magic number to one with six games to play.
“That’s one of the factors that we look at, sure,” Girardi said. “My job is to make decisions with the information that I have. People are going to look at it the way they want to. We’ve been trying to win games, trying to win our division and trying to win home field advantage. We haven’t stopped doing that.”
• Girardi wouldn’t say whether this will be Hughes final appearance of the regular season. “We will see,” was his answer to the question. “My job is to manage his innings and we’ve been doing that all year long,” Girardi said. “It’s something we talk about on a fairly regular basis. I just felt that where we were today, today was the right day to start him.”
• For now, the Yankees rotation in Toronto will be A.J. Burnett, CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte. That does not seem to lineup Sabathia for a Game 1 start in the division series.
• I sit next to Mark Feinsand for nearly every home game. I’m positive CC Sabathia told Mark that he was starting on Friday, not Tuesday. Girardi, however, said he never told Sabathia that the rotation was going to change. “We told him he was on rotation as long as we need to keep it,” Girardi said.
• That said, don’t be surprised if the rotation changes again in the next 48 hours, especially if the Yankees clinch. “Then we’ll look at it and see what’s best for us,” Girardi said. “But the point is that we have to get in first. We have to win ball games and play better.”
• Yankees relievers who have not been used at least one of the past two days: Mariano Rivera, Dave Robertson, Javier Vazquez and Andrew Brackman. Robertson and Brackman have each been up in the bullpen.
• Just a guess, but the Yankees seem to be saving Vazquez to start if/when they’re ready to realign the rotation for the playoffs.
Marco Scutaro 2B
J.D. Drew RF
Victor Martinez C
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jed Lowrie SS
Ryan Kalish CF
Bill Hall LF
Lars Anderson 1B
Associated Press photos of Hughes and Chad Gaudin