Yankees starter Phil Hughes throws against the Red Sox in...

Yankees starter Phil Hughes throws against the Red Sox in the first inning on Opening Day at Fenway Park. (Apr. 8, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

DETROIT -- Best-case scenario, Brian Cashman said Phil Hughes could return in 6-8 weeks.

And given how things had gone with the righthander much of the last month, the general manager thought that was good news.

"Clearly we're in a better position today than we were in St. Louis where we were worried about essentially losing him for the year," Cashman said before Wednesday night's game on a conference call.

Hughes, on the disabled list since April 15 with right shoulder inflammation, saw specialist Dr. William Thompson in St. Louis Monday.

A battery of tests, which included two MRI's and various circulatory and vascular tests, spurred the Yankees to send him to Dr. Thompson to see if the pitcher had thoracic outlet syndrome, a circulatory disorder.

Had he tested positive, Hughes likely would have been out for the rest of the season.

But he tested negative, returned to New York Tuesday and met with team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad Wednesday. Cashman said Ahmad's recommendation was for Hughes to rest for the next two weeks, then begin a throwing program.

Currently, no further tests are scheduled.

"Right now he feels pretty confident that he's getting through this now and that hopefully he's on the back end of this thing," said Cashman, who did not talk to Hughes but spoke extensively with Ahmad Wednesday. "I think he feels much better about bigger concerns being ruled out."


Extra bases

Brett Gardner, in a slump much of April, has seven hits in his last 13 at-bats and eight walks in his last 15 plate appearances. . . . Russell Martin got the night off and Girardi said he would likely get another day off at some point during the three-game series in Texas.

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