Hughes to minors? Not impossible

Let's start with how Phil Hughes looks. He appears to be in great shape with a chance to recapture his 2010 form. It is very possible he will throw great in the spring and win the No. 5 job outright.

However, the Yankees think of Hughes as a starter. So if Freddy Garcia takes the fifth spot, then Hughes won't necessarily go to the bullpen. In the pen, Hughes would likely be role-less as the seventh, eighth and ninth are already accounted for. As a long man, Hughes' development would be slowed.

So, at 25, could Hughes end up back in the minors so he is kept stretched out? When the Yankees inevitably have an injury among their starters, Hughes would be ready. It would be less about punishment and more about keeping him ready to start.

"[Those] are things we would have to talk about as we get near the end," Girardi said. "My expectation is that everyone is going to pitch well and I will have to make a tough decision. I expect Phil to bounce back."

So if he is not a stater, would you expect him to be a bullpen guy?

"There are a lot of different things we could do with him," Girardi said. "He has had success in the bullpen. You have to decide what is best for him and us."