Change of plans? Yankees to activate Phil Hughes, start him Saturday

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Phil Hughes was scheduled to make a rehab start Saturday after opening the season on the disabled list with a bulging disc in his back, but the Yankees announced after Friday’s game that he’ll be activated to start against the Tigers instead.

David Phelps will return to the pen to make room for Hughes in the rotation. Adam Warren presumably will be sent down.

It’s reasonable to suspect that this was the Yankees’ plan all along, and that they just stashed Hughes on the DL so that they could carry an extra reliever in the first four games of the season (players who start the season on the DL only have to stay there for five days, assuming they didn’t take part in any games the last 10 days of the spring).

Still, if that’s the case, the Yankees did cover their tracks really well. According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News’, Hughes’ bags were already checked in for a flight to Newark when he got the word he was going to Detroit instead.

Hughes never got into a Grapefruit League game this spring after being diagnosed with the bulging disc in February. He went 16-13 with a 4.19 ERA for the Yankees last year.

A’s coach apologizes for apparent Nazi salute

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Oakland Athletics bench coach Ryan Christenson has apologized for raising his arm during a postgame celebration in what looked like a Nazi salute.

Christenson made the gesture while greeting closer Liam Hendriks following the A’s 6-4 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday.

Hendriks immediately pushed Christenson’s arm down and cameras then showed him laughing and briefly raising his arm a second time.

Christenson faced criticism after video of the gesture circulated on social media.

“I made a mistake and will not deny it,” Christenson said in a statement issued through the team. “Today in the dugout I greeted players with a gesture that was offensive. In the world today of COVID, I adapted our elbow bump, which we do after wins, to create some distance with the players. My gesture unintentionally resulted in a racist and horrible salute that I do not believe in. What I did is unacceptable and I deeply apologize.”

The A’s called the gesture “offensive” and apologized for it.

“We do not support or condone this gesture or the racist sentiment behind it,” the team said in a statement. “This is incredibly offensive, especially in these times when we as a club and so many others are working to expose and address racial inequities in our country. We are deeply sorry that this happened on our playing field.”

The 46-year-old Christenson played six years in the majors from 1998-2003. He later spent several years coaching in the minors before becoming bench coach for the A’s in 2018.