NEW YORK -- With an eye on Phil Hughes' creeping innings total, the Yankees will skip the right-hander on Sunday against the Rangers, sending Dustin Moseley to the mound instead.
It will be the second time this season that Hughes has missed a start, having also been passed over when his turn came up on June 25 in Los Angeles. But it could be coming at a good time for Hughes, who is 1-2 with a 7.98 ERA in his last three starts.
"If anything, I'll be thrown back into rhythm," said Hughes, who will instead start on Sept. 15 against the Rays at Tropicana Field. "I've kind of been out of rhythm for a while. Maybe it'll change something."
The Yankees have declined to publicly state where Hughes' innings limit lies, but it is widely believed to be between 170 and 180. Hughes has hurled 155 1/3 frames in 26 starts.
"I don't know if there's ever an exact right time to skip a start, but the one thing that you want is him to be able to do what he needs to do down the stretch," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
"We just thought that because we do have some off-days in there, too, we want to get him on his regular turn as much as we can going down the stretch."
Owning a 16-7 record with a 4.29 ERA, Hughes said that he felt like he made progress in his last bullpen session, even though his start -- when he allowed six runs in six innings against the Blue Jays on Sunday -- might not have indicated it.
"I feel like I'm starting to get back on track -- if anything, this will give me more time to work," Hughes said.
The Yankees may consider using Hughes for an inning in relief during the club's upcoming series at Texas, a possible harbinger of things to come. While Hughes can be considered for postseason starts without affecting the innings limit, the Yankees may also opt to use him out of the bullpen in the playoffs.
"I showed last year I could do the bullpen thing, so we'll have to see what they want to do," Hughes said. "I try to put my ego aside when it comes to all of that. I came into Spring Training trying to be the fifth starter. At this point, I don't feel like I deserve to be [one of] the top three guys."