Phil Hughes threw a two-inning simulated game at the minor league complex this afternoon. It was the latest step in his recovery from a bulging disc that cost him roughly three weeks earlier this spring.
“Before this came up, he was at a point where he was throwing the ball really well, as good as I’ve seen him,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. “I think he’s a little frustrated because he wants to be where he was before it happened. It’s going to take a little bit of time, but he’s not that far off.”
The video above has some footage of Hughes pitching, as well as interviews with Hughes and Joe Girardi about Hughes’ chances of being ready to open the season on the big league roster. He’s on course to start April 7 — the first day the Yankees need a fifth starter — but the team has said there’s no reason to force the issue. If Hughes is ready to make that start, great. If not, the Yankees have both David Phelps and Ivan Nova stretched out and available to fill the temporary void.
“He might be ready for us,” Girardi said. “Maybe worst-case scenario, you miss one start. I’d rather have you for 30 good starts instead of you trying to rush back and then get hurt. I said, just go at the pace you would normally go. Let’s not try to do too much.”