Making their way back from injuries, both pitchers worked for the club's top two Minor League affiliates on Sunday, posting mixed results as the organization watched closely.
"You pay attention because one of those guys could be the fifth starter next week," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Hughes had been the clear-cut favorite for a big league return, but struggled in his third start for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday, allowing five runs on eight hits over 3 2/3 innings, including a two-run homer.
Appearing in Allentown, Pa., against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Hughes walked none and struck out four. He told the Scranton Times-Tribune that he felt, "A little bit of a dead arm, but you're going to go through those days when you don't have your best stuff."
Sidelined since late April with a stress fracture in his right ribcage, the 22-year-old Hughes has no record and a 5.27 ERA in three starts since joining Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this month, allowing eight runs and 14 hits in 13 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out 10. He opened the season in New York's rotation but was winless in six starts before the injury.
Attempting to return from reconstructive elbow surgery, Pavano had the better evening, hurling six innings of one-run, six-hit ball for Double-A Trenton, striking out six and walking one.
Pavano pitched on the road against the Reading Phillies and is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three Eastern League starts since joining Trenton, allowing six runs on 14 hits while walking three and striking out 13 in 14 innings.
The 32-year-old Pavano is in the final year of a four-year, $39.95 million contract signed with the Yankees before the 2005 season. Repeatedly troubled by injuries, Pavano has made just 19 starts for New York, winning a total of five games over the span of the agreement.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.