NEW YORK – The New York Yankees juggled their pitching rotation Friday, pushing back Phil Hughes to Wednesday as part of their plan to limit the right-hander's innings in his first full season as a major league starter.
Hughes originally was scheduled to start Sunday night in the finale of a three-game series against Boston. Dustin Moseley will now pitch that game, with Hughes bumped to Wednesday night in Toronto for what is likely to be his final start of the season.
New York entered Friday night needing two wins over the Red Sox this weekend to clinch a playoff spot. The Yankees were a half-game ahead of second-place Tampa Bay in the AL East with nine to play.
"We're still looking at the division in our sights, but you also have to think about mapping it out as well," manager Joe Girardi said.
Girardi said more pitching changes could be coming. If the Yankees are able to wrap up a postseason berth, they'll surely want to line up their rotation with ace CC Sabathia at the top.
The 24-year-old Hughes is 17-8 with a 4.31 ERA in 169 1-3 innings. The Yankees have skipped his turn in the rotation a couple of times already this season to restrict his workload.
Hughes threw 86 innings in the majors last year, mostly in relief, and his previous high as a pro was 146 at Class-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton in 2006.
In other news, general manager Brian Cashman said reliever David Robertson still was unavailable to pitch because of a strained back. Cashman said he was told Robertson had a good bullpen session, though. The right-hander has been sidelined since Monday. He had an MRI exam Wednesday.