Hughes, CC to follow Kuroda in ALCS rotation

Hughes, CC to follow Kuroda in ALCS rotation

NEW YORK -- About 45 minutes after CC Sabathia fired the final out of the American League Division Series into Mark Teixeira's glove, manager Joe Girardi was huddling with his coaches in a clubhouse office at Yankee Stadium, plotting the Yankees' pitching for the next round.

While it felt unorthodox to have to hurry such decisions with a quick turnaround, spilling some of the preparation even into the hours leading to the 8:07 p.m ET first pitch of Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday, Girardi said that he is confident he and his staff came away making the right calls.

New York will go with Hiroki Kuroda on short rest in Game 2, setting up Phil Hughes and CC Sabathia to pitch on regular rest for Games 3 and 4, respectively, against the Tigers.

"We talked to [Kuroda]; he said he feels good and we decided to go with him on short rest," Girardi said. "Hughesy will be on normal rest and so will CC. Someone was possibly going to be off his normal rest. This way, it's only one guy."

Girardi said that he and his staff "kicked around" the idea of pitching rookie right-hander David Phelps in Game 2, but decided that he was better served to remain in a bullpen role. Kuroda's fatigue, Girardi said, should not be an issue on Sunday.

"Maybe, I don't expect him to throw as many pitches tomorrow," Girardi said. "We'll see how he's doing, but I feel pretty good about sending him out there."

Hughes and Sabathia are locked into Games 3 and 4 regardless of how the series progresses to that point, Girardi said.

Hughes took a no-decision in a sharp 6 2/3-inning outing against the Orioles in Game 4, allowing a solo Nate McLouth homer among four hits permitted while walking three and striking out eight.

Sabathia, of course, is coming back from his dominant complete-game victory to end Baltimore's season in Game 5 and move the Yankees on to the ALCS, as well as a strong 8 2/3-inning performance in New York's Game 1 win at Baltimore.

Girardi said that he considered using Sabathia on short rest in Game 3 against the Tigers, but ultimately decided against that.

"We thought about it, but you think about how hard he's worked these two starts," Girardi said. "I would rather have him Game 4 fully prepared than maybe short rest in Game 3."

Sabathia said he would have been ready for a Game 3 assignment if that's what the Yankees had needed, but he said he will throw his normal bullpen session on Sunday and be set for Wednesday's Game 4 in Detroit.

"At this point of the year, anything's OK," said Sabathia, who added he'd be ready for a potential Game 7. "It's my time to be heard and it's time to go."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.