Phil Hughes threw his regular between-starts bullpen this afternoon, then he came into the visiting clubhouse in Citi Field and sat with his right shoulder iced. It was a familiar routine. What comes next, though, is still unknown.
“Discussions (about) possibly what’s going to happen in the next few days,” Joe Girardi said. “Bartolo’s pitching tomorrow, so we’re going to see what happens, and we’ll make a decision when we have to.”
The Yankees have announced their probable starters for their upcoming series against the Indians. A.J. Burnett is scheduled to pitch Monday — which would Hughes’ normal day — followed by CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova. Girardi said those plans could change, but for now the Yankees are on turn.
Hughes will pitch somewhere early next week, the Yankees just aren’t sure where.
“We have to decide how we get through this weekend,” Girardi said. “Do we want to give him one more start in the minor leagues to build him up even further or do we feel that he is ready to go? That’s the determination we have to make in the next couple of days.”
Girardi seemed to be indicating that Hughes’ status depends on how well Colon gets through tomorrow. It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which Hughes makes another minor league start if Colon stays healthy, but moves into the big league rotation if Colon suffers a setback. But that’s all imagination at this point. The Yankees haven’t announced anything and seem to be waiting to make their decision.
• Goes without saying that the Yankees haven’t decided how their rotation will change with both Colon and Hughes healthy. Girardi stressed that Ivan Nova’s performance tonight won’t be a factor in whether he keeps his job. “His job is not going to be determined whether he pitches great today or doesn’t pitch great today,” Girardi said. “That’s not going to determine. And he’s been in that situation where there was news that Hughesy was coming back and he went out and threw a gem, so he’s been through this before. He needs to focus on what he can do. That’s the important thing, and just go out and pitch.”
• The Yankees don’t have a regular platoon in left field, but that’s been Andruw Jones’ usual spot when he’s been in the lineup. Brett Gardner started against a lefty in Chicago, and he started against a lefty yesterday in the Bronx. He’s not starting today, despite the spacious Citi Field outfield. “I was going to play Jonesy against the lefty today,” Girardi said. “Whether it was a spacious outfield or not, I was still going to play him. Then, you obviously hope that you get that lead and you make that switch defensively. We’re facing a bunch of right-handers in a row after this and (Gardner will) continue to play.”
• Girardi said Derek Jeter is still on schedule to make a rehab appearance tomorrow, despite being rained out today. Jeter is flying to Trenton today and will run there at some point today.
• Doesn’t matter tonight, but Girardi said Colon will be limited to roughly 80 pitches tomorrow. “We’ll see how difficult those 80 pitches are,” Girardi said. “Maybe you let him go a little bit more, but hopefully he’d be able to get through six innings.”
• Jeff Marquez said he’s scheduled to play catch tomorrow. Colin Curtis is also with the team here at Citi Field.
• Girardi on Jose Reyes: “You’ve got to keep him off the bases, and the way he’s swinging the bat, it hasn’t been easy for clubs to do. He’s hitting close to .400 in the month of June. Now it’s July 1, maybe he can go the other way.”
Associated Press photos