Those are the questions I'm wondering about. Those who follow my blog know I've been a supporter of Hughes in the rotation and Joba Chamberlain as the future heir to Mariano Rivera. But, in the unlikely event that I was wrong about Hughes fitting in the rotation as a starter, the Yankees will have to be prepared with backup plans.
Is it as simple as just swapping Chamberlain and Hughes? I don't think so. I don't think the Yankees can afford to make any more mid-season switches with Chamberlain. That being said, this leaves two candidates to replace Hughes: Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre.
Between the two I sway toward Meat-tray, and that's mainly because he has more experience as a starter. I think Aceves is too valuable out of the bullpen to move him. Last year the Yankees gave him a spot start on July 9 against the Twins and nothing good came from it.
Mitre's numbers in the past might be a little ugly, but he did have a good spring and he wasn't awful in his only appearance of this season against the Rays.
So how short of a leash will Joe Girardi have on Hughes? That's uncertain. After facing the Halos tonight, I project he'll make starts against the Athletics and the Orioles - two of the weakest offenses this season. If he can't make it past the fifth inning in any of his first three games, I say it's time to call on Mitre.