First a reminder that I’m hosting a chat at noon tomorrow. Stop by the blog and we’ll talk all about the Yankees center field situation, the catcher competition and the early injuries in camp.
Second, the video above is of Phil Hughes playing catch this morning (he’s the one on the far right of your screen, throwing to Scott Aldred). Because these guys are professional baseball players, there may be some idea that their version of “playing catch” is somehow different from what everyone else grew up doing in park or the backyard. As you can see, it’s not. When a guy says he’s been cleared to play catch, it literally means, play catch. As in, throw a baseball back and forth with someone, often from not very far away.
“It was light,” Hughes said. “First day, they didn’t want me to go crazy, especially in the cold. Twenty five easy throws and we’ll ramp it up from there.”
Of course, throwing a baseball isn’t the only thing Hughes is doing in his recovering from a bulging disc in his upper back.
“Heat, massage, all that stuff,” Hughes said. “There’s a back strengthening program and a stretching program, and I’m doing all of that every day as well. This is now the third back issue, so it’s something that I’ll have to monitor and keep an eye on and do everything I can to strengthen that area and hopefully not have any more issues.”
Hughes was pretty far ahead of the other big league starters at the time of his injury, and he said it’s too early to know whether that will accelerate his return.
“It’s hard to say,” he said. “I’ll just base it on how I feel. First time I get on a mound and each step after that, I just have to feel where I’m at. I’ll know if I’ve picked up right where I left off, or I’ll know if I went backwards a little bit. I think the real test will be getting on the mound the first time, then I’ll really be able to assess where I’m at.”