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Managing Hughes' Innings

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That crazy little lightbulb went off in my head last night as I was on my way to work. Usually, when this lightbulb flickers I suggest something a little crazy like signing Kerry Wood or Eric Gagne, or occasionally something really crazy like starting Joba in the minors.

But I think this lightbulb is different.

Shouldn't the plan be (so long as everyone stays healthy and effective) to use IPK as the 5th starter, skipping him whenever off days allow it? And then to alternate Hughes/Joba as the 3rd starter/ace reliever.

If we're going to push Joba into the rotation around the All-Star break, doesn't it make sense to swap him with Hughes? This keeps both of them around 150 innings and avoids creating a huge hole in either the rotation or the pen.

Now, It is possible that the Yanks think that Hughes is capable of more innings than Joba. Hughes pitched 72 MLB innings last year to Joba's 24. Hughes totaled 110 to Joba's 112. But Hughes had pitched 146 innings in 2006. Now, Will Caroll has told us that the +30 rule is only based on the MLB innings, and Brian Cashman hasn't been returning my phone calls, so I have no idea what the Yanks think the innings limits should be. But they might think Hughes can toss a few more innings than Joba, and that would explain why he's going to be in the rotation while Joba is stretching out midseason in the minors.