He is suffering from a bulging disc in his back, which gave me déjà vu, as the Yankees despicable off-season made it easy to forget about the team’s existing issues.
I started thinking how dreadful Hughes was in 2011, following his infamous 18-8 season.
The reason for concern here is that Hughes returned after 2010 and literally couldn’t pitch. It was like watching Jekyll and Hyde on the mound.
After his first three starts in April of 2011, the Yankees had no choice but place Hughes on the DL. As in those three starts Hughes went 0-2, with an ERA of 13.94. He gave up 19 runs, four homers, and managed just three strikeouts. That is a far cry from All-Star the season before.
This last season Hughes pitched much better, going 16-13, with an ERA of 4.23. Still it was hard to trust Hughes as any pitcher would be who gives up 35 homers and 101 runs over 32 total starts.
In 2010 Hughes started 29 games, and his body couldn’t recover from that workload. He made 32 regular season starts in 2012, along with throwing a career high of 191 innings.
So is it feasible to be concerned that this could happen again?
You are darn right it is.
But what fans should be really worried about is not his injury history but this specific one.
Hughes complained of his back last season, and it got so bad that he had to leave in the fourth inning of ALCS Game three vs. Tigers.
So it is conceivable that this injury has lingered for months.
Add that to his body being worn down from last season, and that usually spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e.
Per usual GM Brian Cashman downplayed the severity of the injury. As initially what was supposed to be two to four days was upped to at least two weeks within hours. Most fans should know never to believe the Yankee brass when giving injury updates, as it is most certainly being downplayed so not to cause utter panic.
Point here is that Phil Hughes is one of the youngest Yankees on the roster this season, and he is not supposed to be already is hurt.
The bottom line here is that fans can hope that this isn’t the start to another injury plagued season in the Bronx because the 2013 Yankees team will not be able to weather a storm this time.