When the Yankees put Phil Hughes on the disabled list, they technically labeled the injury as “right shoulder inflammation,” but until today, there was no indication that the inflammation was a serious concern. Joe Girardi always referred to it as a dead arm issue, and Hughes himself said time and again that he did not know of any traditional injury.
Turns out, the inflammation might have been a bigger problem than the Yankees ever indicated.
The possibility of thoracic outlet syndrome “was a much bigger concern” according to Brian Cashman, but on April 28, the Yankees gave Hughes a cortisone injection. Either because of that that shot, or maybe because of the extended rest, Hughes is now indicating to the Yankees and their doctors that he feels “110 percent” better, according to Cashman. How exactly he feels better, Cashman couldn’t say, but he said he’s far more optimistic today than he was when Hughes left for St. Louis a few days ago.
“It sounds like he’s in a much better mental place, so we’ll see,” Cashman said. “It doesn’t guarantee anything. Ultimately, with where we’re at, the recommendation has been another two weeks of rest and then we’ll get him going. Clearly he’ll have to build his arm strength up again, and that will be that true test if we’re through the woods.”
Cashman guessed that Hughes is six to eight weeks away from rejoining the Yankees rotation. Dr. Ahmad has recommended that Hughes rest for two more weeks before beginning a throwing program. There are no further tests planned.
“Hopefully this is just a bump in the road,” Cashman said.
• Highlight of my day at Comerica: Girardi was asked whether Mariano Rivera would be available today. “He was a little upset when we said he was off duty yesterday,” Girardi said. “So I think he’d probably want to strangle me if I told him he was off today.”
At that point, someone noticed Rivera was stretching right in front of us and suggested Girardi tell him — as a joke — that he would not pitch tonight. Girardi stood up, yelled “Hey Mo” and gave him a thumbs up.
Then Girardi slowly turned it to a thumbs down, indicating Rivera was down for tonight’s game. The look on Rivera’s face was positively murderous. I mean it. One of the kindest, classiest men in all of baseball, and Rivera looked like he would rip Girardi’s face off.
So, yeah, Rivera’s available tonight.
• Regular day off for Russell Martin. He’ll “probably” get another day off this weekend in Texas.
• Girardi is obviously encouraged by the way Brett Gardner is hitting and reaching base lately, but there are no plans to move him back into the leadoff spot at this time. “We always discuss our lineup,” Girardi said. “We discuss different ideas every day. Is that something that I have a plan to do? No, not really.”
• Francisco Cervelli hasn’t had much time with Freddy Garcia, but Girardi gave Cervelli advance notice that he’d be catching tonight’s game. “I told Cervi to watch his last couple of starts and see what he’s doing so he would have a better understanding,” Girardi said. “He doesn’t have much of a history, but you hope the learning curve would be pretty quick.”
• Victor Martinez is off the Tigers disabled list and batting fifth behind Miguel Cabrera. Does that change the way the Yankees approach Cabrera? “I think you look at the score, the time of the game, the situation,” Girardi said. “You have to remember, you have one guy that’s been down for a while, too, and none of us really know how Victor’s swinging. But we know how Miguel’s swinging.”
• Eduardo Nunez went through extensive fielding drills before tonight’s game. Girardi said those drills were planned for yesterday but the session was rained out.
Associated Press photos