As has long been expected, Yankees manager Joe Girardi indicated this afternoon that right-hander Phil Hughes will begin the season on the disabled list. Hughes appeared in a minor-league game today. Girardi said the club is leaning toward giving him two more starts in the minors before he makes his regular-season debut.

So in all likelihood, Hughes won’t arrive until April 11.

“I think you plan for giving him two more starts,” Girardi said. “But that doesn’t necessarily mean that he has to have them. We might feel that he’s ready after the next one. We’ve just got to be prepared for it, more than anything.”

Girardi plans to give starts to both Ivan Nova and David Phelps during the first week of the season. Nova and Phelps were competing for the fifth spot in the rotation.

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The Yankees claimed right-hander Sam Demel off waivers from Houston. To make room on the 40-man roster, the team designated pitcher Dan Otero for assignment. Otero was claimed off waivers on Tuesday.