Phil Hughes was diagnosed with a bulging disk in his upper back not long after arriving to spring training, but he returned to the mound earlier this morning.
According to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, Hughes threw a 10-pitch bullpen session and reported no issues with his back. He’s scheduled to throw a longer one on Monday and will progress from there.
There’s no timetable for Hughes to throw in a game, so the Yankees are preparing for the possibility that he will not be ready for the start of the season. If he needs more time, Ivan Nova and David Phelps will both begin the year in the rotation.
Hughes, 26, went 16-13 with a 4.23 ERA and 165/46 K/BB ratio over 191 1/3 innings last season. He is eligible to become a free agent after the 2013 season.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.