Phil Hughes diagnosed with back stiffness

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From Sweeny Murti of New York’s WFAN comes word that Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes departed in the fourth inning of his ALCS Game 3 start against the Tigers because of a stiff back.

Hughes cruised through the first three innings before yielding a solo home run to Delmon Young and a walk to Andy Dirks. He motioned for a trainer two pitches into the next at-bat against Jhonny Peralta and departed the field after a short conversation with the Yankees’ head trainer and manager Joe Girardi.

Hughes held the Orioles to one earned run over 6 2/3 innings during his lone outing in the ALDS. He threw a career-high 191 1/3 innings during the 2012 regular season. It’s a cold night at Comerica Park.

The Tigers currently lead this ALCS Game 3 by a score of 2-0. Justin Verlander is throwing a gem.

Baseball to honor Stoneman Douglas High School as spring training games begin

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There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.

The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.

All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.

After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.

Here’s today’s schedule: