Matt Fortuna of MLB.com passes along notice that Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes has been cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment and will make his first appearance Tuesday with the Yankees’ affiliate in the Gulf Coast League.
Hughes threw 30 pitches Thursday in a simulated game down in Tampa, Florida and was able to touch 92 MPH with his fastball. He reported no problems with his once-fatigued right arm after the workout.
Hughes has been sidelined since the third week of the regular season with a “dead arm” and was moved to the 60-day disabled list in late May. He had allowed 19 hits and 16 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings.
If all goes well, the 24-year-old should be cleared to rejoin the Yankees’ starting rotation in early July.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.