Back stiffness to sideline Phil Hughes for week

Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes warms up his arm

Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes warms up his arm at George Steinbrenner Field on the first day of spring training in Tampa, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2013) (Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.)

TAMPA, Fla. -- Phil Hughes will miss at least a week with upper-back stiffness, general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday.

The injury is not thought to be serious, but the pitcher will see a specialist just to be sure.

"You hope it's just an early spring tweak," Cashman said by phone. "But we'll send him to a local spine guy to get a better feel for it and make sure it's nothing more than a spasm."

Joe Girardi said the injury occurred Monday during pitchers' fielding practice, covering first base. Hughes mentioned the injury after Monday's workout.

"There's always a little bit of concern," Girardi said. "It's upper back, near his shoulder blades. We'll see how he is in a couple of days. The good thing is he was ahead of where he'd probably normally be at this time, which helps."

 

Phelps to go Saturday

Girardi said David Phelps would start Saturday's spring opener against the Braves at Disney and tabbed Adam Warren to start Sunday against the Blue Jays at Steinbrenner Field. Phelps and Warren each threw simulated games Tuesday morning, with prospect Ronnier Mustelier twice nearly hitting Phelps' head with line drives through the middle.

"He can hit," Phelps said of the righthanded-hitting outfielder from Cuba, who hit a massive homer off Warren that had Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild staring at the blast as it left the ballpark.

 

BP next for Mo?

Mariano Rivera admittedly dialed it up "a little bit" in his third bullpen session, with catcher Francisco Cervelli excitedly saying "Ooo!" after several of the 36 pitches. Rivera is likely to throw again in three days and added: "I think the next one's going to be BP."

 

Extra bases For the second straight day, Derek Jeter (ankle rehab) did not stretch, run with his teammates or run the bases, but he joined them for infield drills and batting practice . . . CC Sabathia, who after his first bullpen session Sunday said he had "no command," said things went much better in Tuesday's 30-pitch session. "Yeah, all good."

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