Phil Hughes on track to begin throwing program Thursday

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While Phil Hughes is still a long way from pitching with the Yankees again, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com reports that he’s tentatively scheduled to begin a throwing program Thursday.

Hughes was placed on the disabled list last month after posting a 13.94 ERA over his first three starts while showing significantly diminished velocity with his fastball. He underwent a battery of tests to rule out any serious injury — including thoracic outlet syndrome — but said Monday that his shoulder has responded well to a recent cortisone shot.

“I’m confident. I know it just didn’t just disappear,” Hughes said of his fastball velocity. “…. I’m confident it will be there.”

It’s just baby steps right now, as Hughes will likely start by throwing off flat ground and simply progress from there. The Yankees are hopeful that the 24-year-old right-hander will be able to return in six to eight weeks.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.