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Yankees' Hughes sidelined

TAMPA — Yankees RHP Phil Hughes could be sidelined for two weeks because of a bulging disc that will be treated with anti-inflammatory medication.

"I'm convinced I'll be symptom free in the next four or five days," Hughes said Wednesday. "I felt like I was kind of ahead of the game with my throwing. I threw a bunch of bullpens before I got here, and, thankfully, it's early enough in spring. It's a setback, but I still have a lot of time to get it right."

Hughes said he will be treated with the anti-inflammatory medication for four or five days. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said it could be two weeks before Hughes resumes throwing off a mound.

"Obviously, it's something you wish you weren't dealing with and, hopefully, it's nothing major," Cashman said. "We'll know within the next two weeks. The expectations and the hope from that is that he'll be fine and ready to go. But there's no guarantees until we get through the two weeks' process and see where he's at. We won't be out of the woods until we see all that stuff."

Hughes needed an injection of painkiller in September 2011 to alleviate a seven-year-old back injury that recurred. A test then found inflammation caused by a herniated disc, an injury Hughes sustained in 2004 during his first professional season.

PINEDA PLEA: Yankees RHP Michael Pineda, who was arrested and charged with DUI in Tampa on Aug. 20, pleaded no contest.

Jays: Hard to handle

DUNEDIN — The Blue Jays appear likely to give knuckleballer R.A. Dickey a personal catcher, the National Post of Toronto reported.

Manager John Gibbons told the Post that he expects his backup catcher — either Henry Blanco or Josh Thole — and not starter J.P. Arencibia to catch Dickey. Both caught Dickey with the Mets.

The battle for the backup job will begin in earnest when Dickey returns from the World Baseball Classic.

"They've got to spend a lot of time working with Dickey because (the knuckleball) is an unusual, unique pitch," Gibbons said. "It takes a lot of work."

Phils: Still confident

CLEARWATER — An older, wiser Jimmy Rollins has ditched his annual rite of spring: Trading trash talk with NL East counterparts.

But as the new-look Phillies prepare for the season after seeing their five-year reign atop the division end in 2012, Rollins isn't conceding anything, either. The longtime shortstop, 34, remains confident in the talented nucleus.

"Everybody is in the right mind frame," Rollins said. "We're a complete team. We're not going out there with role players. We're going out there with everyday players, every game."

Before the 2007 season, Rollins famously declared a young Phillies squad "the team to beat" despite a 13-year playoff drought. The Phillies made good on that vow, chasing down the Mets in September and winning the division title.

.Fast Facts

Blue Jays

Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin

Tickets: (727) 733-0429, bluejays.com

Phillies

Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater

Tickets: (727) 467-4457, phillies.com

Yankees

Steinbrenner Field, 1 Steinbrenner Drive (corner Martin Luther King and Dale Mabry), Tampa Tickets: (813) 879-2244, yankees.com

Yankees' Hughes sidelined 02/20/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 8:57pm]

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