Of the three New York Yankees players injured during Spring Training, Phil Hughes believes he could be ready by Opening Day. While Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira will be out until May at best, there is a chance Hughes has a chance of not missing any regular season time. According to reports, Hughes is ahead of his schedule as he rehabs from the back injury he suffered early this spring.
Hughes’ had a return date of March 14 to return to the mound and beat that set date by three days. He threw 26 pain free pitches this past Monday in a bullpen session. While he still has more work to do, like actually pitching in a spring game, the news is encouraging for Hughes and the Yankees. With the injuries to Granderson and Teixeira, the Yankees will lean on their pitching to get them thru April until there two sluggers return in May. Also on Hughes side is the elongated spring schedule because of the World Baseball Classic.
However, the Yankees will not push Hughes and they don’t need him to. Both Ivan Nova and David Phelps, who are both competing for the fifth spot in the Yankees rotation, have pitched very well so far this spring. Both men have allowed just one earned run each, with Nova pitching nine innings and Phelps having pitched 14 so far. If Hughes is not ready by Opening Day, both men could fill the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation until he is ready to return.