Phil Hughes will pitch in a minor league game for the first time today on three days’ rest.

“They asked and I said, ‘I felt fine,’ ” said Hughes, whose threw a simulated game Monday at the minor league complex.

Hughes, who was hampered early in camp by a bulging disk in the upper back, is trying to avoid opening the season on the disabled list.

Like with Derek Jeter, the Yankees will likely keep Hughes away from big league exhibition games so they can back-date him until today if he has to be placed on the shelf. If backdated to today, Hughes would be eligible to come off the DL April 6.

There is time for Hughes to start the season on the active list but it will be close.

“Let’s see how he does the next two turns,’’ Joe Girardi said.

If Hughes comes through the next two outings without a physical problem he could start against the Tigers on April 6 in Detroit.

Hiroki Kuroda, who Girardi officially anointed his Game 2 starter yesterday, will also throw in a minor league game today.

Girardi said Andy Pettitte will start the third game. CC Sabathia, of course, will work Opening Day against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium April 1.

* With the Florida portion of spring training ending next Thursday, what becomes of Alex Rodriguez’s rehab program?

According to Girardi, Rodriguez continues to work back from January 16 hip surgery in New York.

“I think he is doing a lot of work in the pool,’’ Girardi said of the third baseman who is expected to be out until at least July and could miss the entire season. And his named has been linked to the Biogenesis situation. The manager says he sends Rodriguez text messages once a week.