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Yankees' Hughes uncertain for starting season

Phil Hughes hasn’t picked up a baseball since Feb. 18 because of a bulging disc and might not pitch until March 12 or later.

Getty Images (2012)

Phil Hughes hasn’t picked up a baseball since Feb. 18 because of a bulging disc and might not pitch until March 12 or later.

TAMPA — Yankees manager Joe Girardi said No. 4 starter Phil Hughes might not be ready for the regular season because of a bulging disc in his upper back.

"Is it in jeopardy, his starting? It's possible, yeah," Girardi said after a 10-7 loss to an Orioles split squad Wednesday. "I think it's too early to tell, though."

Girardi said Hughes will probably need four or five starts to work his way up to the 75 pitches he'll need to be ready for the season. New York is targeting March 12 for Hughes' first spring start, which would barely give him enough time.

"Every day is worrisome that I'm not throwing," Hughes said. "But it's a double-edged sword. I don't want to push this thing and have it become a recurring issue, but at the same time, every day is a day lost, so I'm kind of in that in-between zone."

Hughes was shut down Feb. 18 after feeling back pain during a fielding drill and has not picked up a baseball since.

WE'LL SEE: Count Michael Weiner among those skeptical of the Yankees' stated plan to reduce payroll next year.

Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner says the team wants to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold in 2014. That means the player payroll would have to be about $178 million at most, using average annual values of contracts, since the total for the tax will include at least $11 million in benefits such as the pension plan.

"I can't say it concerns me," Weiner, the players association leader, said after meeting with Yankees players during his tour of spring training camps. "I imagine that Mr. Steinbrenner is sincere when he says that, but like a lot of things, I'll believe it when I see it."

Phils: Quick from gate

FORT MYERS — New Phillies CF Ben Revere got off to a fast start against his former team.

Revere had two hits, scored twice and stole a base in a 12-5 loss to the Twins.

Minnesota drafted Revere in the first round in 2007 and traded him to Philadelphia in December for RHP Vance Worley and RHP prospect Trevor May.

"I just want to get on base and let Ryan Howard or Chase Utley or Delmon Young or whoever come in and hit me in," Revere said. "I've got guys who have been MVPs behind me. I just want to get in scoring position, and one of those guys can hit me in."

Revere hit .294 with a .333 on-base percentage last season for the Twins. He stole 40 bases.

"That was weird, seeing him standing over there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was definitely weird seeing him in that uniform because he had been with us for a long time in a Twins uniform."

Jays: Reliever sharp

DUNEDIN — RHP Justin Germano stood out on a bad day for the Blue Jays pitching staff.

Germano, 30, who has made 93 appearances over seven seasons with five teams, pitched two scoreless innings of relief, striking out four in a 10-1 loss to the Astros.

"He was really the only one that was sharp," manager John Gibbons told the Toronto Globe and Mail. "Everybody else got hit around pretty good or they had trouble locating the ball or (were) behind everybody. That's two good ones in a row for him. But he can pitch, that's what he does."

Germano entered in the second inning and shut down Houston after a four-run first against RHPs Brad Lincoln and Trystan Magnuson.

"I was able to throw strikes with all three pitches, got a few strikeouts and I felt it was a pretty good outing," Germano told the newspaper.

Germano, who is 10-30 with a 5.27 ERA in his career, is competing for one of two spots in Toronto's bullpen.

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Yankees' Hughes uncertain for starting season 02/27/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 10:11pm]

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