The word that came to mind yesterday, when watching Phil Hughes dominate the majors’ best offensive team, was “indispensable.”

On this Yankees team — when scoring enough runs to win presents a daily conundrum as challenging as “Final Jeopardy!” — the presence of a fourth above-average starting pitcher is indispensable.

Looking ahead to 2014 and beyond, when the other three above-average starters are north of 30 — with Andy Pettitte above 40 and Hiroki Kuroda not too far away — Hughes could make himself equally indispensable.

The latter notion still has time to marinate. For now, though, it could not be clearer: The Yankees are getting the best version of Hughes they ever have seen at a juncture when they have never needed him more.

“I feel like I’m kind of clicking right now with what I’m trying to do,” the right-hander said, after he threw eight shutout innings to lead the Yankees over the A’s, 4-2, at Yankee Stadium. “I feel like I’m executing pitches at a better rate that I did early on. As long as I can hit the glove and stay there, I feel like I’ll be pretty good. So I just have to continue that trend.”

Referring to “early on,” Hughes meant his first couple of starts this season. If he had been referring to the entire roller coaster that has been his major league career, that would have worked, too.