Burnett was scheduled as Wednesday's starter entering the day, and no starter had been announced for Thursday. The Yankees, who have the luxury of six starting pitchers on their roster, start a three-game series with the Angels at 7:05 p.m. ET Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
Hughes had not yet been told after the game that he would not be pitching Tuesday, and felt after throwing just 13 pitches in-game, he could still go if needed.
"It's always disappointing if you're not able to start," Hughes said when asked about the possibility of his start being skipped. "I feel like I made some good progress in my last start, so if I have to wait around, it won't be something that's fun to deal with. But again, I don't really make these calls or anything like that."
Hughes' first relief appearance since Oct. 2, 2010 -- which saw him take the win at Fenway Park -- wasn't out of the blue. He was considered a backup plan to pitch in relief going into the day, and stopped throwing his scheduled in-game bullpen session when the Sox tied the game at 2 in the bottom of the ninth against closer Mariano Rivera.
"Felt normal, it's something I've done before," Hughes said. He entered the night with a 1.35 ERA in 46 career relief appearances.
Hughes got one out before David Ortiz's ground-rule double to right put Boston in business. The Yankees bench elected to intentionally walk Carl Crawford, who was 2-for-15 off Hughes lifetime, and pitch to Josh Reddick.
A left-handed hitter, Reddick drove a first-pitch curveball on a line drive to the left-field corner for the winning hit.
"It was kind of weird, it was sort of an 0-0 get-me-over curveball," Hughes said of the decisive pitch. "I almost saw him think 'take' -- everything kind of slows down, you know -- then it seemed like at the last second he's like, 'Oh,' and stayed back real well on it. Shot it into left. I wasn't exactly sure where [left fielder Brett Gardner] was playing, but then when I saw it tailing away from him, I pretty much figured that was it."
Reddick struck out in his only previous plate appearance he had against Hughes.
Hughes had last pitched Tuesday in Chicago, throwing 65 pitches in six innings of three-hit, shut-out ball. He and the Yanks won, 6-0.