NEW YORK -- An MRI examination taken Wednesday on Phil Hughes' troublesome lower back showed only inflammation, and the Yankees right-hander is expected to make another start before the conclusion of the regular season.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that Hughes had an epidural shot administered in response to the flare-up, believed to stem from a herniated disc the hurler suffered in 2004.

Cashman said that the team considers the situation "not serious" and that it would have normally resolved itself over time, but the Yankees went for a quicker fix with the postseason looming.

"My conversations with Phil and [team physician] Dr. Chris Ahmad would lead me to feel really good that this is not a big issue," Cashman said.

Hughes complained of back spasms after throwing a bullpen session on Friday in Toronto, and had his start scheduled for Monday pushed back. He was unable to pitch on Wednesday either, with Hector Noesi getting the spot start nod against the Rays.

"We believe he'll be fine. We believe he'll still pitch for us," Cashman said.

Hughes is expected to start one of the games in the season's final series of the year next week against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

Cashman said that he was not sure if the Yankees would be looking at Hughes -- 5-5 with a 6.00 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) -- to start or relieve when the team begins their postseason run.

"We really haven't had those types of meetings, in terms of role," Cashman said. "I think he'll be able to start or relieve, if that's what we want."

Yanks will celebrate when right time comes

NEW YORK -- The Yankees clinched a playoff spot with their 4-2 win in Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader, and a win in Game 2 and a Red Sox loss to the Orioles would clinch the AL East title for New York.

Before Wednesday's first game, manager Joe Girardi said he was giving his players free rein to celebrate however they like, so long as they didn't go overboard between games.

That certainly wasn't the case, as there was no celebrating after clinching the playoff berth with the win in the twin-bill opener.

"We're happy to be in the playoffs, but people aren't running around here jumping up and down because we clinched a postseason berth," said Yankees captain Derek Jeter. "Our goal is to win the division, and we have not done that."

Said Girardi before the game: "I want the guys just to do what comes natural to them; I think that's important. They're the guys that work extremely hard all year long."

Worth noting

The Yankees will look to clinch a playoff berth in Game 1 of the doubleheader with a few holes in their usually potent lineup. Center fielder Curtis Granderson, first baseman Mark Teixeira and catcher Russell Martin have all been given the game off in order to prevent them from having to play three games in a 27-hour span.

Instead, the lineup includes Jorge Posada at first base, Eduardo Nunez at second and Austin Romine at catcher. Girardi will also play Andruw Jones in left field, an irregularity given Tampa Bay's starter, James Shields, is a right-hander.