New York Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes, sidelined since April 15 because of shoulder inflammation, threw 22 pitches to batters in a side session on Saturday and was encouraged by the way it went.Here's more on the story from Chad Jennings:
Hughes said his progression was right where he wanted it. The next step is for him to throw another side session, followed by a two-inning simulated game. He eventually will go to extended spring training at the team’s Tampa facility under the supervision of Billy Connors, the Yankees’ vice president of player personnel.
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Hughes won’t go on a minor league rehab assignment until they can stretch him out to five innings. Rothschild declined to put any timetable on his return.
The Yankees haven’t had a radar gun on Phil Hughes in his bullpens, and they didn’t have a gun on him during this afternoon’s sim game, but pitching coaches can usually recognize velocity without the exact numbers.Jennings projects that Hughes could be around 30 days away from a return, which could be a huge boost for this team. However, thanks to the great job Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon have done, starting pitching hasn't been an issue so far.
Minor league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras always says he pays little attention to the gun and judges velocity on what he sees, and Larry Rothschild said basically the same thing this afternoon. He said it was “the arm speed and the finish in the strike zone” that told him Hughes was maintaining his velocity throughout his 22-pitch simulated outing.
“One of the things you see is he’s more animated in his delivery, which tells you his arm feels better,” Rothschild said. “Before it was, ‘You need to quickened up the pace of your delivery because that’s what you do when you’re good.’ Because the arm speed wasn’t there, he ended up slowing it down a lot. Since he started throwing again, it’s been much more animated. I think he’s feeling better, and the arm speed’s better, and you can see it in the bullpen for sure.”
Rothschild gave a flat “no” response when asked if there would be any reason for Hughes to repeat this step. As long as he bounces back, Hughes is scheduled for two innings next time out (either in a simulated game or an extended spring training game).
“He’s going to go through another spring training, basically,” Rothschild said.