Phil Hughes ready for minor league rehab assignment

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After throwing an extended bullpen session earlier this afternoon, Phil Hughes told Chad Jennings of the Journal News that he expects to make his first minor league rehab start in five days.

“I felt like balls were coming out pretty good,” Hughes said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

While Hughes isn’t sure where he’ll report to make the start, Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild told him he’s probably going to throw about five innings.

Hughes was placed on the disabled list earlier this month with a “dead arm” after he showed diminished velocity while posting a 13.94 ERA over his first three starts. He has averaged just 89.2 mph on his heater this season compared to 92.6 mph last season.

There was no radar gun in the bullpen today, but you can bank on hearing plenty of reports when he makes his first rehab start on Thursday.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.