Now that the Joba Rules are a thing of the past, prepare yourselves for their hopefully less-disastrous cousins, the Hughes Rules. Phil Hughes is in pretty much the same position Chamberlain was in last year: He's got an innings limit, and he'll likely hit it before the end of the season (let alone the playoffs, should they make it) if he continues to pitch every five days. Let the rotation tinkering begin.
According to an ESPN New York report, Joe Girardi and Dave Eiland will soon decide on the "next phase" of the Hughes Rules, and they'll factor in not just how many innings he's thrown, but how many high-stress innings and even how many pitches. They're reportedly hesitant to discuss their plans because they want to avoid the fanfare of the Joba Rules, and though we admit we're as guilty as anyone of blowing those out of proportion, we also remember how those rules pretty much derailed Joba's season.
What we do know, sort of:
• They might decide he's right on pace, and not do anything. He thinks his limit might be 175 innings; he's thrown 49 and two-thirds entering tonight's start against Cleveland.
• Thanks to off days, if they make no adjustments to the rotation, he'll have five days between starts in five of his next eight outings. (We'll note that for this to work, they'll have to stop skipping Javier Vazquez.)
• The most noticeable change could come around the All-Star break, which they could maximize to give him nearly two weeks off in July.
This plan more closely resembles the one the Tigers used with Rick Porcello last year than the one the Yankees used with Joba. We're certainly willing to give the Porcello Rules a try, since the Joba Rules most definitely didn't work.
Yanks to decide on new Hughes Rules [ESPN New York]