Phil Hughes Returning To Yankees For Wednesday Start

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Phil Hughes Starting For Yankees Wednesday Night

Scroll through Wednesday's scheduled pitching matchups and you won't see a whole lot that catches your eye. That is, until you get to this:

NYY: P. Hughes (0-1, 13.94)
CLE: J. Masterson (6-6, 2.85)

Indeed, Wednesday marks the return of Phil Hughes to the Yankees, and though no roster move has been made yet to activate him from the disabled list, it's coming at any minute.

Hughes has been missing since struggling with reduced velocity and command in April and going on the DL. There, he underwent a number of tests that ruled out various maladies, but in time he got better, and more recently he made three rehab starts with Staten Island and Trenton. In those three starts, Hughes struck out 18 in 14 innings while showing improved velocity, and the Yankees have evidently decided that he's shown enough to earn his way back.

Hughes returns to a 13.94 ERA that he probably will not sustain. But in which direction will it go? Stay tuned!


Phil Hughes To Make Rehab Start Sunday

The New York YankeesPhil Hughes, who threw 49 pitches in an outing at the Yankees’ spring training facility in Tampa five days ago, will make his first official minor league rehab start Sunday afternoon for the Yankees’ Class A team on Staten Island, according to ESPN New York:

“I’m ready to go,” Hughes said after throwing in the outfield on Saturday at the Yankees’ spring training complex.

An All-Star last year when he went 18-8, Hughes was 0-1 with a 13.94 ERA in three starts this year. He struggled to reach 90 mph with his fastball, though the team initially chalked it up to the cold weather and his penchant for slow starts.

Hughes’ shoulder problems appear to be fixed, as much as any pitcher’s shoulder trouble can; he threw consistently at 91-93 MPH in his outing in Tampa.

Other injured Yankees, including Eric Chavez, Derek Jeter, Pedro Feliciano, Damaso Marte and Luis Vizcaino, also made progress in their rehab efforts from injuries, although there is no specific timetable for any of their returns, except for Jeter, who is expected to be able to come back soon after he is eligible.


Phil Hughes' Velocity Still Encouraging

Another day, another update on New York Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes, who couldn't find his fastball this spring. Looked under the cushions and everything. The Yankees came into the season with only two starting pitchers who had very good seasons in 2010, and Hughes was one of them. The mysterious velocity loss led to Hughes getting crushed at the beginning of the season, and the disabled-list stint came more because the team didn't know what else to do rather than because of any pain or discomfort.

So, encouraging news from Sweeny Murti of YankeesWFAN:

Phil Hughes threw 49 pitches in rehab start today in Tampa, FB 91-93mph consistently. Good first outing. Will pitch at Staten Island Sunday.

Murti also speculates that if everything goes well with subsequent starts that Hughes could be back around July 4th. When Hughes does come back, though, there will be a decision to make, as all five of the Yankees' starters have been league-average or better this season, which is something you should have expected with the Yankees bringing in Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Matt Morris, Paul Byrd, and Odalis Perez.


Phil Hughes Set For First Rehab Start

Yankees righthander Phil Hughes went on the DL on April 15 with shoulder troubles after getting off to a horrendous start to the 2011 season -- a 13.94 ERA in three starts.

Batteries of tests were done, and Hughes finally had a cortisone injection into his right shoulder and began to improve. Last week he started a throwing program. Today, via tweet from Sweeny Murti, Yankees beat reporter for New York’s WFAN, we learn about more progress:

Phil Hughes was up to 92mph in simulated game today. Will make first rehab start next Tue for Gulf Coast League Yankees in Tampa.

Sounds promising, especially the velocity. The Yankees had been on a nice run, and a week ago led the AL East by two games. But now they have lost three of their last five, and allowed 17 runs in the first two games of their current series vs. the Red Sox. They could use Hughes and a rehab start Tuesday, followed by one or two more, could have on a path back into the Yankees' rotation by the end of the month.


Phil Hughes Set To Begin Throwing Program On Thursday

About a week ago, the word was that Yankees starter Phil Hughes was feeling a great deal better after getting a cortisone injection into his mysteriously ineffective right shoulder. The Yankees didn't know what was actually wrong with Hughes, and still don't, but better is better, so now the news is that Hughes and the team are going to take the next step, courtesy of Bryan Hoch:

#Yankees RHP Phil Hughes expects to start throwing program on Thursday. Could return in 6-8 weeks.

Writes Hoch later about what the Yankees are calling Hughes' problem:

Yankees are going with right shoulder inflammation.

So we'll see how this throwing program goes. The Yankees will hope that Hughes begins throwing at or near full strength, and who knows, maybe time and a little cortisone was all he needed. But there's no telling until Hughes is actually out there throwing a baseball.

Hughes allowed 16 runs in 10.1 innings over three starts with the Yankees before going on the DL, and by subtracting his numbers, the rest of the rotation has a collective 3.38 ERA. So even though the Yankees would love to have Hughes back for the stretch run, at least for the time being they're doing just fine without him.


Phil Hughes Feeling Better After Cortisone Shot; Still Out Indefinitely

The New York Yankees haven't had a ton of good news about the dead arm of right-hander Phil Hughes ... but they haven't had a bunch of bad news, either. There's just been a void -- a dead arm where a live arm used to be. A battery of tests didn't find anything wrong with Hughes' circulatory system, so it looked like the Yankees and Hughes were back to square one.

But Yankees GM Brian Cashman discussed the Hughes situation today, and had some encouraging news:

Cashman says Hughes feels a lot better. Had cortisone shot 4/28.

This is the first update about Hughes that's anything other than completely ambiguous or foreboding, so while it's not exactly the same as Hughes popping 95-mph fastballs in extended spring training, "feels a lot better" is a definite improvement.

Cashman also noted that Hughes was still six to eight weeks away, at least, so any sighs of relief would be premature. Still, some good news is better than no news for the Yankees, who entered the season counting on Hughes to be a pillar of their rotation.


Phil Hughes Tests Come Back Negative For Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Yankees starter Phil Hughes has been sitting on the disabled list for a while with a dead arm, and recently he's been undergoing about a thousand million tests to try and uncover the reason behind his reduced velocity. On Monday he was sent to a specialist to determine whether he has thoracic outlet syndrome, which had recently popped up as a possibility. The answer? No, not so much. Writes Mark Feinsand:

Phil Hughes' tests came back negative for all circulatory and vascular issues. Back to the drawing board.

This is good news for the Yankees, because they can eliminate some major and scary possibilities. But this is bad news for the Yankees, because it means they still don't know why Hughes isn't throwing the way he used to.

Of course, in first place at 16-9, the Yankees aren't exactly in a desperate position at the moment, although one wonders how long that rotation of theirs can possibly hold up.


Phil Hughes Scheduled For Even More Tests On Monday

The last word on New York Yankees starter Phil Hughes, who was placed on the DL with a dead arm, was that he could be suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome, a blood flow condition that's rare with the general population, but not unheard of among pitchers. Before a true diagnosis can be reached, though, Hughes has to undergo even more tests. From the Associated Press:

The young right-hander, who has gone through a battery of tests since going on the disabled list with what the team called a "dead arm" on April 15, is scheduled to see specialist Dr. Robert Thompson to determine whether he has thoracic outlet syndrome.

The Yankees have been concerned with Hughes since spring training, when the rising young star wasn't able to throw with his typical velocity. While Hughes never claimed to feel pain, the Yankees put him on the disabled list after several poor starts.


Phil Hughes Tests Reveal Possibility Of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

It looks like the mystery of Phil Hughes' dead arm might reach a conclusion soon, and the butler could be thoracic outlet syndrome. From Ben Shpigel of the New York Times:

Hughes could have thoracic outlet syndrome. Being sent to st louis for more tests...

In tests, doctors saw enough to believe that thoracic outlet could be possibility. Unclear when he'll see specialist or what timetable is.

For those of use who've never heard of this ominous syndrome, here's a definition from PubMed Health:

Thoracic outlet syndrome is a rare condition that involves pain in the neck and shoulder, numbness and tingling of the fingers, and a weak grip. The thoracic outlet is the area between the rib cage and collar bone.

While that description describes the condition as rare, it's actually relatively common with baseball players. It's still a little odd that Hughes wasn't feeling any pain, but hopefully this will go some ways towards figuring out what's wrong with the Yankees pitcher.


Phil Hughes Dead Arm Prompts More Tests

Apparently, you can't just hold your forefingers up to a dead arm's neck and check for a pulse. The New York Yankees are still looking for what's wrong, if anything, with Phil Hughes. From Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News:

No update on Hughes yet. He went through five more hours of testing today, including a dye-contrast MRI and blood work.

So more tests for the right-handed starter, and it's still not clear what would be scarier: no answers for the dead arm, or a medical explanation. The Yankees were already a little worried about the rotation to start the season, and they were counting on Hughes and C.C. Sabathia to be their pitching foundation. A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon, and Freddy Garcia have all been pleasant surprises, though, minimizing the loss of Hughes for now.

While the Yankees have been linked to every starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who doesn't have a no-trade clause -- and several that do -- they would probably like to figure out what is wrong with Hughes before they make a significant trade.


Phil Hughes Checked For Injury During Battery Of Tests

New York Yankees starter Phil Hughes is currently hanging out on the disabled list with a perplexing lack of velocity. The Yankees have referred to the problem as "dead arm" and Hughes says he hasn't been feeling any unusual discomfort, but on Tuesday, the team finally had him undergo some tests to check for an injury. From the Star-Ledger:

Hughes undewent four hours worth of tests: 2 MRIs, vascular exam. Results haven't been reviewed yet. Seeing doc tonight. More tests tom.
Again, no results on Hughes' tests yet, but it appears Yanks are checking for everything.

The Yankees will leave no stone unturned as they search for the miles per hour and control that Hughes has had go missing. Based on the lack of pain, an injury seems unlikely, but the statistical symptoms are definitely there, so there's no harm in looking, just to be sure.

While no results have yet been determined, I honestly wonder what the Yankees might be hoping for. An injury would be bad, but it would at least be an answer. If Hughes' arm is in good condition, but it still can't throw like it used to, then this whole thing will remain a mystery.


Phil Hughes' Rehab Hits Snag

There's Phil Hughes news, and it's not good. From Chad Jennings in the LoHud Yankees Blog:

Phil Hughes' bullpen did not go well this afternoon. He'll now see a doctor to make sure there's nothing physically wrong.

"Not good," Joe Girardi said. "It just didn't bounce back like we thought it would."

Hughes had to cut the session short. He said it felt the same as his first fee starts when there just wasn't much behind his pitches. Like "there was nothing there" according to Girardi.

Hughes isn't having any pain. So he's got that going for him, anyway.

But this news obviously delays any rehab start against real hitters, and Hughes won't know if he's right until he pitches against live hitters. This is rank speculation, obviously, but it's hard to imagine him starting again for the Yankees before June. At best. Considering that nobody seems to know what's wrong.

Which means the pitching rotation of the New York Yankees will, for the foreseeable future, feature Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. And things are looking better for the Rays and the Red Sox every day.


Phil Hughes Throws 30 Pitches, Future Still Hazy

The timing of Phil Hughes' return from the Disabled List could hardly be more indefinite. Wednesday, Chad Jennings reports (via LoHud Yankees Blog):

Phil Hughes threw 30 pitches today, his first bullpen since the start that landed him on the disabled list with a dead arm. Hughes has done four days of long toss in an attempt to build arm strength. He'll take tomorrow off, then throw another bullpen on Friday - probably two sets of 15 pitches - and that bullpen will decide what's next.

Hughes hasn't been diagnosed with a specific injury; he supposedly just has a "dead arm," which is what they say when you can't throw as hard as usual but the doctors can't find anything wrong.

If Friday's bullpen session goes well, Hughes might be given a rehab start in the minors. He thinks he'll know within a few innings whether his arm's undead, but it seems like if the doctors don't know what's going on, Hughes probably doesn't, either. At best, he doesn't figure to start again for the Yankees anytime in the next couple of weeks.


Yankees Place Phil Hughes On Disabled List After Miserable Start To Season

In what comes as little surprise, the New York Yankees have elected to place struggling starting pitcher Phil Hughes on the disabled list. Initial reports that Hughes was heading to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre were not correct. While Hughes does not appear to be structurally injured, the team believes he is fighting through a dead-arm period that has taken a toll on his performance.

The 24-year-old Hughes has made headlines this April for his reduced velocity and ineffectiveness. Through three starts, he's thrown his fastball a few miles per hour below where it's been in the past, and opposing batters have taken liberal advantage. One glance at Hughes' numbers say all that needs to be said:

2011 - Phil Hughes 0-1 3 3 0 0 0 0 10.1 19 16 16 4 4 3 13.94 2.23

Hughes has been incredibly hittable, and is coming off a Thursday start against the Orioles that saw him get pulled in the fifth inning. He and pitching coach Larry Rothschild have no idea why things have gone so wrong, but the organization has clearly decided the solution isn't to keep throwing Hughes back out there and hoping things improve. They'll give him a break instead, getting him on a long toss program.

Lance Pendleton is coming up from AAA to take Hughes' roster spot for the time being, while Bartolo Colon will presumably slide from the bullpen into the starting rotation. Through 11.1 innings of relief, Colon has 13 strikeouts and three walks.

We'll see where Hughes goes from here. Ideally, in the Yankees' minds, he'll be able to build up his arm strength and return in just a few weeks. But mysterious drops in velocity are always cause for concern, and this will only remain a situation to monitor. Hughes is an important part of the Yankees' plans, and so this has turned into a real headache.

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