Update: Phil Hughes out at least five days with bulging disc in back


Wednesday: Hughes was sent to a local spine specialist and was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his mid-upper back according to George King and Joel Sherman. He will be shut down for at least five days and put on anti-inflammatory medication. Brian Cashman conservatively called it a “two-week timeout.”

Tuesday: Via Jack Curry & Mark Feinsand: Phil Hughes will miss a few days with upper back stiffness near his shoulder. “There’s always a little bit of concern,” said Joe Girardi while noting that his number four starter hurt himself during a fielding drill yesterday. He saw a doctor but it’s unclear if they ran any tests.

Hughes, 26, left Game Three of the ALCS with a stiff back but was cleared to resume throwing a few days later. He also missed a start with a sore back in September 2011 and dealt with a bulging disc back in 2004. I suppose the back trouble could all be related, but who the hell knows. Better to rest it now in February than worry about a DL trip during the summer. Hughes is no stranger to the trainer’s room and given his impending free agent status, it would behoove him to stay on the field this year.


  1. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Any truth to the rumor that the injury was as a result of shock following a large percentage of the RAB readership now clamoring for bringing him back after this season?

  2. Ryan says:

    Incredible, these guys need to hydrate, warm up better or buy a new mattress. At what point do these back injuries start to become ridiculous?

  3. Govin says:

    Does anyone remember if Hughes had back problems in 2011. I can’t remember if that is what attributed to his bad year, along with his dead arm.

  4. jjyank says:

    Ehh. What is it with the Yanks and bad backs? Feel better soon, Phil.

    • Havok9120 says:

      It’s amusing to me because the injuries are so ill-defined. It’s “soreness,” “stiffness,” and “minor spasms.”

      • jjyank says:

        Backs are funny like that though. My whole family, myself included, has a bad back. I threw mine out a couple years ago reaching for a damn frisbee at the beach. My brother is a second degree black belt and in excellent shape, and had back surgery at age 19 (not the result of an accident). My dad stretches his back for about 20 minutes at a time, twice a day, and threw it out one time brushing his damn teeth. It’s a weird part of the human anatomy.

        • Mark says:

          Right there with you, 24 and I need to see a chiropractor once a fortnight, some mornings it’s agony.

          • jjyank says:

            I’m 24 as well, I feel ya. I can’t complain too much because my back is the best out of the other 3 members of my immediate family. That’s not saying much, however. I used to paint rooms and houses for people for money on the side, but I can’t bend down long enough to do the bottom portions anymore.

            I played organized baseball until I was 20. I highly doubt that my back would have let me continue much longer anyway.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              Office jobs are the worst for your back, too.

              I’m pretty sure I shift in my seat 3-4 times a minute. If anyone’s had success with any ergonomic office chairs, I am all ears.

            • MannyGeee says:

              If you’re bending over to paint, you’re doing it wrong.

              I lay down on the floor sprawled out like a walrus to “cut” the trim and bought a “long reach” pole for the rolling.

              Literally, the only time I am bent over is to fill the tray or cup, and only because I am too chicken shit to keep a paint can anywhere but on solid ground.

              • jjyank says:

                Trust me, I know how to do it. I’ve done an awful lot of painting. Laying on the floor to do the cut in and the bottom trim is one thing, but if you’re rolling a wall and going with the flow of it, you’re gonna have to bend to do some of it. Ditto doing dormers on a roof and areas like that. Can’t really lay down on black roofing tile during the summer, that shit’s gotta be 120+ degrees.

  5. mitch says:

    I hate this portion of spring training. The only news is bad news.

    • Havok9120 says:

      Yeah, same. As much as I’m forced to look forward to it every year (zomg, BASEBALL!), this part sucks because there’s really nothing these guys could do that would be all that positive yet there will be injuries. Boo.

  6. Jobu says:

    This is a clear indication of the lack of leadership at the top of this organization. When they get rid of Cashman these types of injuries will be relegated to nobodies and has beens as they should be. If Cashman can’t be trouble to get off his ass and show some damn leadership then who will.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      The captain, maybe? Crazy thought.

    • jjyank says:

      Wait…what? Seriously, what? Back injuries will never happen to important players when Cashman is gone? I hope this is sarcasm.

      • MannyGeee says:

        This is oozing sarcasm. Its hard to tell though since there is an obvious lack of ill-advised ellipses and exclamation points…

        • trr says:

          That’s why I’m here!

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          Yeah it has to be sarcasm.

          • jjyank says:

            I can never tell when I’m not familiar with the poster though. If you had said that, I would know.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              “When they get rid of Cashman these types of injuries will be relegated to nobodies and has beens as they should be.”

              Is what gave it away to me. But I mean, weirder things have happened. I’m still not 100% convinced.

              Also I think I always get involved in “Is this sarcasm” threads…

              • jjyank says:

                I hope you’re right. It just doesn’t come across well on the internet, I’m not sure why people even bother if they’re not regular enough for their handle to give it away. I usually look for things like “teh” or “!!!ONEZ!” or some other form of language that screams sarcasm in cases like this.

                You know, a year ago I probably would have called this sarcasm immediately. Kinda sad that some of the things I’ve seen people say on here make me doubt it so often.

  7. MannyGeee says:

    Dear Phil,

    Cut the shit. You’re not gonna get Anibal Sanchez money with a sore back.

    Your agent

  8. Vern Sneaker says:

    Aargh, if it’s not one thing it’s another. I hate these so-called minor back incidents with pitchers, it’s usually ten days or so of lost time even when it turns out to be no big deal.

  9. OldYanksFan says:

    I have been seeing a Chiropractor, on and off, for 50 years…. as did my mother, wife, daughter, and many other folk I know personally. A good one is a life saver. Traditional medicine simply has no answer to what Chiropractors fix 10 days a day.

    Do the Yankees have on-staff Chiropractors?
    Are players getting adjustments on a regular basis?
    Are players doing Yoga or other stretching/limbering execises?

    It seems with all the money MLB has for ‘healers’, there are an awful lot of stiff backs.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      All very good points.

      This always reminds me of Michael Strahan’s worst season occurring after he did nothing but Pilates the off-season before. I always found that hilarious. Now I take a Pilates class every Sunday.

  10. Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:

    But wasn’t Phil supposed to be in the best shape of his life after that special new training program he started at the request of Rothchild this winter????

    • Havok9120 says:

      To be fair, I don’t believe he ever claimed that. I actually haven’t seen any comments from him about the stretching thingy or whatever it is.

  11. Another really long name which has no point (formerly "an important / cool name") says:

    I am shocked Cano’s back isn’t killing him already. Afterall he is going to carry the load for the team this year.

  12. KofFH says:

    Why is David Phelps so happy?

  13. Govin says:

    This is sad. Lets hope the five days does it for Hughes.

  14. Vern Sneaker says:

    I have such a gloomy feeling about this. A “bulging disc” = a chronic problem. I’m sure we all know people with disc issues — I don’t know how anyone pitches with it, it’s hard enough for some people I know even to get out of bed when they act up.

  15. trr says:

    Based on my own issues with my back, 5 days ain’t gonna cut it.
    But it doesn’t mean he can’t bounce back from this and be ready in April…

    • Govin says:

      I know some people who have had problems with bulging disc. Anything to do with discs seems to be pretty serious.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      We know how old you are on here, though. I’m going to assume Phil’s got a few less miles on that back. :)

    • MannyGeee says:

      I had no idea you were a professional athlete with access to the best health care money could buy.

      considering the circumstances (posts on a Yankees blog), I had you at 15-30 pounds overweight and wearing a Mattingly Shirsey on your way to Five Guys.

  16. BeanTooth says:

    Now is when the Yanks should pounce and sign him to an extension — Cashninja style.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      “Sorry about your back, Phil. Why don’t you sign on this 5 year, $20 million extension now. Hear, let me help you lift your hand. Steady now….”

    • Havok9120 says:

      I found it hilarious, if totally meaningless, that he got hurt right after everyone and their grandmother was clamoring for us to extend him.

  17. Barry says:

    by anti-inflammatory I hope they mean testosterone.

  18. Adam "Bulge" Warren says:


  19. BeanTooth says:

    This from Jack Curry: “Cashman described Hughes as taking a “2-week timeout.” The GM said he is hopeful the injury time won’t stretch any longer.”

    That’s not good.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      It also means he may back in two weeks with some rest and anti-inflammatories.

      I’m going to assume any kind of chronic back issue isn’t great for a pitcher. I also think he hasn’t exactly been the picture of longevity in his career and will have to work through this. Let’s not write him off just yet.

    • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

      Sometimes I wish I could give my kids a two week time out.

  20. Adam says:

    Wonderful news. Flame me all you want, but I am a realist and I think its gonna be a long season.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      For Hughes or in general

    • Govin says:

      If you consider 162 games a long season, then you would be correct.

      Adam I think you should reread the article. It says the Yankees number four starter will be out for five days(some are saying two weeks.)Not the Yankees ace will be out for the year. there is another word for your type of realism that is pessimism.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        I always thought a “realist” would balance both sides of an argument and acknowledge that things could trend a way other than downward.

        To be fair, though, losing Hughes starts exposing the underbelly pretty quickly. That would mean little room for error with Phelps/Nova and have the team looking to fill that extra bullpen slot. It’s a hop, skip, and jump away from Warren, Marshall, and MiLB contract fodder pretty early on.

        • Govin says:

          I agree, but it is not yet guaranteed that we have lost Hughes for any part of the season. I understand that there is a chance this thing could spiral out of control and Hughes won’t be able to pitch for the whole year. I also understand that Hughes can come back in two weeks, Possibly be a little behind, but in the end pitch the rest of the regular season without any trouble. We haven’t even played a spring training games yet.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            All true. Just responding to all the “realism” above.

            • Adam says:

              yeah, im sure its gonna only be 5 days. No, im not a doc, but back injuries have a tendency to linger and as we know hughes is no stranger to the trainers room.

              if you wanna call me a pessimist, thats fine. I just think that it could be a long year for the Yanks. I obviously hope im wrong, but I dont view this team as its constructed through rose colored glasses

              • Robinson Tilapia says:

                Fair enough.

                I’m honestly not thinking about the five days versus two weeks versus a month, etc. My mind’s gone much more towards recurrence and how often this will flare up once he’s back. Now, as Govin wrote, he had a similar issue nine years ago, so perhaps it’s not something we’ll see again, but it’s not outlandish to be concerned about it going forwad.

    • MannyGeee says:

      You can flame me all you want, but I am a realist. And every season is long because its SEVEN FCKING MONTHS. Also, step off the ledge, he’s got a bulging disc, not cancer.

      • Adam says:

        i respectfully disagree. its baseball, I am not near any ledge. just not drinking the kool aid like most.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          So, if you’re not an outward pessimist, you’re drinking the Kool-Aid. Gotcha. No middle ground.

        • Havok9120 says:

          Jesus. We’re drinking the cool aid because a back injury that the doc proscribed 5 days of rest and anti-inflamatories for is being treated with 2 weeks of step backedness and we think that that’s okay as opposed to expecting a disaster? Yikes.

          Meanwhile, the Cashman quote is way off from what Jennings reported from the clubhouse. 4 more days rest and AIFMs then a few days doing work outs in a pool then back on the field was what he heard was the plan an hour or so ago.

          • herby says:

            I’ll start to worry about it in 5 days if there is no improvement. I’m sure you know back problems can linger, but they can also clear up pretty quickly if you just give them time to rest. Sometimes it’s just a matter of moving the wrong way and pissing things off.

  21. theyankeewarrior says:

    Extend him right now!

  22. mt says:

    Yankee Admin Assistant to Randy Levine:

    Mr Levine, Scott Boras, Kyle Lohse’s agent, is holding on line 1…

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see. Wouldn’t be the worst thing if he was still out there if the news on Hughes wasn’t good.

      Wouldn’t go more than two years under any circumstance.

    • Havok9120 says:

      That’d be hilarious.

  23. I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

    Hurry Obi Wan Pineda. You’re our only hope.

  24. Cacique and Destroy says:

    Backs are this year’s obliques.

  25. RetroRob says:

    He’ll be fine. Back problems are never serious.

  26. Govin says:

    “It can be a recurring situation if I don’t take care of it now,” Hughes said. “(The doctor) was adamant,saying, stay off it, let it heal, don’t push it and it won’t be an issue. …”
    This is a little excerpt from the morning notes over at Lohud Yankees.
    It gave me a better feel of what the injury was and what the plan of attack was. Heres the link Hughes sidelined with bulging disc

    • RetroRob says:

      He’ll be fine. Yankee Universe, less so!

      • Havok9120 says:

        If this is how it’s gonna be all Spring and early season, I might need a break. Heart attack central.

        • Pat D says:

          As much as this might sound like blasphemy, this team is not worth having a heart attack. No sports teams are.

          It’s so much easier for me to say this when my favorite teams have won, in my lifetime, 5 World Series titles, 4 Super Bowls, 3 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships and even 1 Stanley Cup.

          Now if the Knicks would just like to do something, that’d be great.

        • herby says:

          He said he was working out early…Perhaps it was a Sundance injury he didn’t let on about…those actresses can put a lot of strain on a back.

  27. cheddar says:

    He should just read one of Dr. Sarno’s books.