Wednesday’s early camp notes: Hughes sidelined with bulging disc
The “upper back discomfort” Phil Hughes began to feel Monday in a defensive drill turned out to be a bulging disc on the right side of his upper back.
Hughes was optimistic that, best-case scenario, he’d be able to pick up a ball and throw in six or seven days, but Yankees GM Brian Cashman said this morning the injury will likely keep Hughes off the mound for about two weeks.
The 26-year-old right-hander said he “felt something grab” while covering first base in a drill Monday — “nothing I haven’t done a thousand times before,” he said — then got an MRI and saw a doctor Tuesday, confirming it was a bulging disc between the T5 and T6 vertebrae.
He’ll be taking anti-inflammatory medicine for another three or four days before working in a pool if he shows no symptoms. If he feels fine after that, he’ll start throwing. Hughes didn’t feel like the setback was a particularly big deal.
“Especially because I felt like I was kind of ahead of the game with my throwing. Threw a bunch of bullpens before I got here. Thankfully it’s early enough in spring,” Hughes said. “It’s a setback, but I still have a lot of time to get it right and not push it and make sure I’m 100 percent healthy and that when I do pick up a ball in seven days, I won’t be too far behind in my throwing or anything.
“There’s always a concern when I’m just doing a simple thing like covering first base and I feel it and it’s in an area where I’m not really used to having issues and things like that. Like I said, after a couple days of letting it heal, I’m encouraged with where it’s at.”
Cashman was a little less positive, saying “hopefully it’s nothing major,” but he echoed Hughes’ belief that all his offseason throwing and early work this spring will keep this from affecting Hughes’ schedule too much.
“The doctor isn’t aggressively treating it, and that’s obviously a good sign, but there’s no guarantees until we get through the two-week process and see where he’s at and he’s back on the mound and stuff like that,” Cashman said. “We won’t be out of the woods until we see all that stuff. I could stand here and say, ‘Yeah, I’m excited, and thankfully it’s a low-level situation and blah blah blah.’ But I think we need to really get through this stuff to make sure it responds that way. So it’s a question mark until we can all forget that it ever happened.”