Hughes trudged out to take in Friday's 13-inning, 6-5 loss to the Rangers with the relievers, looking to throw one inning if needed to remain sharp after New York skipped his start in this series.
Hughes got that wish, entering in the ninth inning of a tied game. And just as he did so many times in helping New York out of the bullpen last year, Hughes recorded three outs, using 11 pitches to send the game to extra innings.
"I was just hoping to get in whenever," Hughes said. "I'd rather get into a game than throw a side [session] tomorrow. I was fine with it, and in the ninth inning of a tied game, you just throw strikes and it'll be all right."
With an eye toward Hughes' innings limitations, the Yankees are starting Dustin Moseley on Sunday instead of Hughes, who has been pushed back to Wednesday against the Rays in St. Petersburg. Hughes said he thought the appearance would help him be sharper.
"He threw the ball good," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I think it's good that he saw hitters, where he doesn't go 10 days without seeing them."