New York Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes will join Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson on the disabled list for the start of the season.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced the decision Wednesday after watching Hughes pitch in his second minor league exhibition game since returning from a bulging disk in his upper back.
Hughes is expected to miss his first turn through the rotation, which means that fifth starter candidates Ivan Nova and David Phelps are both likely to begin the season in the rotation.
”I think so,” Girardi said.
The Yankees open at home Monday against Boston. Hughes is scheduled to pitch in a minor league game that same day.
”I’m happy with where he’s at today,” Girardi said. ”He’ll have another one down here and we’ll see where he’s at.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he doesn’t expect Jeter, who continues to get treatment for soreness in his left ankle, will play in a minor league game through this weekend.
”We’re going to give him a few days to calm down, so we’ll back off completely,” Cashman said. ”Eliminate the pain he had when this occurred.”
Cashman said there is no timetable for Jeter’s return. The team captain broke the ankle, which required surgery, in the opener of the AL championship series.
”I know we’ll get him back,” Cashman said. ”I can’t tell you what that date will be.”
Hughes gave up five hits and struck out four over five shutout innings against Toronto Class A players. He threw 81 pitches, including 53 strikes.
”I felt better in the beginning than I did towards the end, but I got through it all right,” Hughes said. ”Got the pitch count up and now it’s just matter of continuing to build on that, and be ready to go. I think I’m close.”
Nova struggled in his minor league game, giving up seven runs and eight hits – including two homers – over five-plus innings against Blue Jays’ prospects. The right-hander said he wasn’t happy with his exhibition season overall.
”I don’t think he pitched as well as we’d like him to, but a lot of times that doesn’t make a difference as long as his stamina is there and he’s built up strength-wise, pitch-wise and things like that,” Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. ”He made a lot of quality pitches and he’s made some mistakes, and the mistakes have cost him.”
Girardi said Teixeira (wrist), who is fielding grounders and swinging a bat one-handed, will be re-examined next week. Granderson (forearm) has started catching flyballs during batting practice. The Yankees are hopeful that both could rejoin the team in May.
Rodriguez may be back in July.
NOTES: 2B Robinson Cano was scratched from Wednesday night’s game against Baltimore because of a stomach bug. … Cashman said a decision on 1B Lyle Overbay’s status should made after Thursday’s game. Overbay was signed to a minor league contract Tuesday hours after being released by Boston. … The Yankees claimed RHP Sam Demel off waivers from Houston. The reliever made five spring training appearances for the Astros this year, allowing 11 earned runs in 2 1-3 innings. … To make room on the 40-man roster for Demel, the Yankees designated RHP Danny Otero for assignment.