Phelps to serve in versatile relief role

Phelps to serve in versatile relief role

DETROIT -- With Phil Hughes rejoining the Yankees' rotation on Saturday, David Phelps will be asked to fill a bridge role between the team's starters and its late-inning relievers.

Manager Joe Girardi said that he can use Phelps in several different roles because the team still plans to carry Adam Warren as a long reliever. Right-hander Cody Eppley was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in a corresponding move to activate Hughes.

Warren is recovering from throwing 84 pitches in Wednesday's game against the Red Sox, and right-hander Shawn Kelley has been used in three of the club's first four games.

That prompted New York to scrap Hughes' scheduled rehabilitation start at Triple-A, summoning him to Detroit instead. Hughes' last outing came on Monday for Class A Tampa in an extended spring training game, throwing seven scoreless innings.

"We don't really have a long guy if we start Phelpsie today, so we felt if something were to happen with Phelpsie, we'd have a little trouble there," Girardi said. "It was kind of out of necessity. We wanted him to make one more start, but he's going to make it here."

Phelps made a team-leading seven starts in Spring Training, but his only appearance of the season thus far has come in relief, tossing 1 1/3 innings behind CC Sabathia's start on Opening Day against the Red Sox.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.