After a 26-pitch bullpen this morning, Phil Hughes will face hitters on Thursday and could be in a simulated game a few days after that. Hughes said that pitching coach Larry Rothschild has a set of targets in mind — milestones that Hughes needs to reach on schedule — that could have Hughes ready to break camp with the team.
“He told me the other day that he’s got some dates in mind that I have to either be in a game or something like that,” Hughes said. “He would know better than I would, but I don’t think it’s out of the question.”
After throwing a light, 10-pitch bullpen last week, Hughes progressed to a bullpen that included breaking balls. Hughes said his slider was “terrible,” but there’s also time to get that fixed.
“Today was a big step,” Hughes said. “The other day I was just feeling my way through those 10. Today I felt like I was throwing a normal bullpen. I wasn’t thinking about my back. I was letting it go and got through that without any issues. For me, it’s a big positive. I just need to make sure I don’t have any setbacks going forward.”
• Interesting note from David Waldstein who reports the Yankees have approached Derrek Lee about coming out of retirement to fill the first-base opening. Lee hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2011. Waldstein reports that no deal is in place, but Lee is apparently interested. So far, Juan Rivera has played well this spring, but he might fit best as a right-handed reserve outfielder. Another experienced first base candidate, Dan Johnson, has struggled at the plate and in the field.
• Michael Pineda is scheduled to throw a full 35-pitch bullpen tomorrow. He will include sliders for the first time since his shoulder surgery.
• Infielders Gil Velazquez and Walter Ibarra are back with the Yankees after playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. Velazquez said the fight with Canada was as bad as it looked on TV. Said it was the worst brawl he’s ever been a part of. Although he said he never threw a punch or got punched — said he simply tried to get people off one another – Velazquez clearly felt embarrassed to have been a part of it.
• Dave Robertson is scheduled to pitch in today’s game. It will be his first appearance since being scratched last week with a stiff shoulder that had trouble getting loose. He’s downplayed the situation as a simply matter of sleeping funny.
• David Aardsma also threw a bullpen today. He reported no issues. Nik Turley and Jose Ramirez also had sides.
• Boone Logan is scheduled to throw a bullpen tomorrow.
• Today’s second string: C J.R. Murphy, 1B Luke Murton, 2B none, SS Addison Maruszak, 3B Jose Pirela, LF Matt Diaz, CF Ramon Flores, RF Zoilo Almonte, DH Travis Hafner
• Today’s scheduled relievers: Shawn Kelley, Cody Eppley, Joba Chamberlain, Dave Robertson, Dellin Betances, Francisco Rondon
• Tomorrow’s travel squad
Pitchers: Preston Claiborne, Brett Marshall, Ivan Nova, Branden Pinder, Josh Spence, Matt Tracy, Chase Whitley
Catchers: Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine, Bobby Wilson
Infielders: Travis Hafner, Walter Ibarra, Dan Johnson, Corban Joseph, Addison Maruszak, Luke Murton, Jayson Nix, Eduardo Nunez, Jose Pirela, Gil Velazquez
Outfielders: Zoilo Almonte, Ramon Flores, Slade Heathcott, Melky Mesa, Ronnier Mustelier, Thomas Neal, Juan Rivera
• Yes, Mustelier is still listed among the outfielders for the travel roster. Doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll play in the outfield tomorrow, but that’s where he’s listed.
Associated Press photos