Mark Newman, Yankees senior vice president of baseball operations, said yesterday that there's "some chance" Philip Hughes, the elite pitching prospect, could begin the 2007 season with the big-league club. "I would never count someone of his ability out," Newman said in a telephone conference. "But in the best-case scenario, we'll give him some time at Triple-A." Hughes, 20, is considered by many industry experts to be the best pitching prospect in all of baseball. He finished last season with Double-A Trenton and totaled ' innings (plus six more in the postseason) for Trenton and Class A Tampa. "We're elevating his workload to 175 [innings], 180 maximum," Newman said. "We think of him as a long-term, high-end starter for the Yankees. We don't want to sacrifice the long-term for a short-term need. Admittedly, that's hard to do with our team and our city. But with top-of-the-rotation starters ... the lesson is to go slower rather than faster."