Phil Hughes threw 30 pitches today, his first bullpen since the start that landed him on the disabled list with a dead arm. Hughes has done four days of long toss in an attempt to build arm strength. He’ll take tomorrow off, then throw another bullpen on Friday — probably two sets of 15 pitches — and that bullpen will decide what’s next.
Hughes said the Yankees have talked about possibly beginning a rehab assignment after Friday’s bullpen, but they might decide another bullpen is necessary.
“It’s frustrating right now,” Hughes said. “I’m doing everything I can do, doing all my work and stuff, and it’s really just one of those things I have to do everything I can to get my arm strong to where it needs to be. Hopefully when I do go on that assignment I can get out there and show some improvement and hopefully be back and ready to go.”
Hughes said it’s hard to know much at this point because h doesn’t know how his arm is going to bounce back. He needs to be in a game situation to know for sure whether he’s made progress. The Yankees put him on anti-inflammatory medication, but Hughes said that was strictly a precaution, largely in preparation for the work ahead.
“With the extreme arm program and long toss and arm exercises I was going through, they just wanted to make sure I didn’t hit a peak and feel a drop off from the intensity that I was putting my shoulder through,” Hughes said. “Just a precautionary thing to make sure nothing gets inflamed in there.”
Hughes isn’t sure how many rehab starts the Yankees will need him to make, but he said he’ll know within one start whether he’s physically ready.
“I’ll be able to tell in that third or fourth inning if I see an extreme drop off and arm strength is still an issue,” he said. “(If) I’m not able to let the ball go like I know I can, then I’ll know I’m not ready. It’s not one of those things where it’s going to take me four games to know that… Whether I show enough that they’re comfortable with letting me start here, that’s a whole separate issue that I have nothing to do with.”
• The Yankees rotation in Baltimore: CC Sabathia on Friday, Freddy Garcia on Saturday and Ivan Nova on Sunday.
• A.J. Burnett will start Monday’s series opener at home.
• Brett Gardner is a career .375 hitting against Brett Cecil, but Gardner said, given the way he’s hitting, it’s the right decision to sit him. “I expect these guys to be playing,” Gardner said. Girardi said he expects to have Gardner back in the lineup on Friday.
• Francisco Cervelli was a DH today in extended spring. He was hit by a pitch in the forearm — of course — but he’s fine and is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with High-A Tampa tomorrow. He’ll catch tomorrow’s game, and Girardi said the Yankees will want him catching back-to-back days before they activate him.
• Girardi said he’ll start really paying attention to Bartolo Colon’s pitch count around 75-80 pitches. At that point, sticking with him will probably be a matter of how effective he’s been.
Yunel Escobar SS
Corey Patterson CF
Jose Bautista RF
Adam Lind 1B
Edwin Encarnacion DH
J.P. Arencibia C
Travis Snider LF
Jayson Nix 2B
John McDonald 3B
Associated Press photo from Hughes’ previous start