NEW YORK -- Earlier this year, when Chien-Ming Wang hit the disabled list and the Yankees needed a starting pitcher to take his place, they did what teams have done for decades. They dipped down into their farm system and called up the promising youngster who was pitching the best. Phil Hughes did a fine job filling in until Wang was ready to return from injury, and the theory and system seemed to work as it should.
Now, Wang is hurt again. But the Yankees can't dip down for Hughes again because they've stashed Hughes in their bullpen since Wang came back, imperiling the development of one of their best young arms and weakening them in the most important aspect of the game: starting pitching.