Yankees Pitcher Phil Hughes Is Doubtful for Start of MLB Season

New York Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes could miss the beginning of the season as he recovers from a bulging disk in his upper back, manager Joe Girardi said.

“It’s possible,” Girardi said yesterday on the team’s website. “It’s too early to tell.”

Hughes must make four spring training starts to work up to 75-80 pitches a game after he is cleared to return to practice, Girardi said.

The 26-year-old right-hander has been working out with aquatic exercises and an underwater treadmill at the team’s minor-league complex in Tampa, Florida.

“Every day is worse in that I’m not throwing, but it’s a double-edged sword,” Hughes said. “I don’t want to push this thing and have it become a recurring issue. I want to make sure that it’s over and done with. At the same time, every day is a day lost, so I’m kind of in that in-between zone.”

Hughes went 16-13 with a 4.23 earned run average in 32 starts last season for the Yankees.

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