UPDATE: Friday, April 5 at 6:23 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
According to ESPN's Wallace Matthews, Hughes will take the mound for the Yankees on Saturday vs. the Tigers:
wallace matthews @OysterBayBomber
Cashman just confirmed Hughes will start for Yankees tomorrow in Detroit4/5/2013, 10:05:57 PM
---End of update---
New York Yankees starting pitcher Phil Hughes has been struggling with a bulging disk in his back (perCBSSports.com), and manager Joe Girardi has confirmed Hughes will start the season on the disabled list (via Joel Sherman of the New York Post):
Joel Sherman @Joelsherman1
Girardi acknowledges Hughes will start on DL #Yankees3/27/2013, 6:11:06 PM
The 26-year-old righty started 32 games in New York’s rotation last season, posting a 4.23 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 191.1 innings of work. Hughes struck out 165 batters last season, but he also allowed a team-high 35 home runs and led the Yankees’ staff with 13 losses.
While losing Hughes for a couple weeks (as believed to be the case by NBC Sports’ Craig Calcaterra) won't be a major blow, he joins left fielder Curtis Granderson, first baseman Mark Teixeira, third baseman Alex Rodriguez and starting pitcher Michael Pineda on an already crowded disabled list (h/t Dayn Perry of CBSSports.com).
The Yankees open the season with a brutal stretch of 12 games in 12 days beginning April 3. New York plays the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles in that span, and replacing Hughes in the rotation for that stretch will be a necessity.
The Yankees got off to a slow start in 2012 but rebounded with a strong second half and a 95-67 record, earning the American League East title. They cruised past Baltimore in the divisional series but were swept in four games in the ALCS by the Detroit Tigers.
With Hughes on the shelf, New York will have to face both of those teams in the opening weeks of the season—as well as the rival Red Sox and revamped Indians—without its No. 4 starter.