3/12/2013 12:16 P.M. ET
Hughes has no issues with back during 'pen session
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes threw 26 pitches in a bullpen session on Monday and believes he can still be ready to crack the Opening Day roster.
"I was pain-free, which I think is the biggest issue," said Hughes, whose spring was disrupted by a bulging disk in his upper back he suffered on Feb. 18. "Now it's just a matter of getting back into the swing of things.
"I was a little disappointed with a couple things [in the bullpen], but overall I was happy with the fact that I got through without any issues. That was the biggest thing."
Hughes said that his slider needs more work, but he thinks being ready for Opening Day is not out of the question. Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild agreed that the timeline remains achievable.
"I think it's reasonable," Rothschild said. "We'll be smart about what we're seeing and looking at; take it step by step. If it looks like we need to back off, we'll back off; not necessarily because of the injury, but just because of where he is as far as how much work he's been able to do."
Rothschild said that the Yankees have some wiggle room to shuffle their early pitching if Hughes needs to miss his first turn through the rotation. He said that Hughes' case is helped by the fact that he had reported to Spring Training early and built up some arm strength, so Rothschild believes Hughes should not be too far off from where he was.
"He came down early and was throwing really well," Rothschild said. "He did some good things this winter delivery-wise, and I liked what I was seeing. I was hoping to see him in games, but we got tweaked.
"He's going to jump right back into where he was. That won't be a problem. It's just making sure physically and pitch-wise that he's ready."
Jeter set to play short Wednesday vs. Phils
TAMPA, Fla. -- Derek Jeter said Tuesday that he is ready to play shortstop in a game for the first time since his left ankle injury in the 2012 American League Championship Series.
Jeter served as the Yankees' designated hitter in a 4-0 victory over the Cardinals on Monday, going 0-for-2, and then said Tuesday he'd play shortstop on Wednesday against the Phillies.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Monday that he would entertain playing Jeter for four or five innings in the field on Wednesday.
"If he comes out OK, we're going to throw him in there," Girardi said Monday. "If he doesn't, I'll DH him another day. Whatever he tells me he wants to do Wednesday, that's what I'll do."
Jeter said that he has taken only normal ground balls at shortstop during practice, but he does not expect to have difficulty getting back to his position.
"I think it will be the exact same as it would be if I played in my first Spring Training game. That's what I think," Jeter said.
Yanks option catcher Romine to Triple-A
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees' catching situation appears to have been settled, as the club optioned prospect Austin Romine to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday.
That suggests that the Yankees' Opening Day catcher will be either Francisco Cervelli or Chris Stewart.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had consistently said that Romine --- the Yankees' No. 18 prospect, according to MLB.com -- was ticketed to begin the year at Triple-A, and since Cervelli and Stewart are both out of Minor League options, Romine was considered a long shot to break camp with the club.
Manager Joe Girardi has said, however, that he would not be surprised if Romine has an impact at the Major League level this year.
Romine's name was among 11 roster moves made by New York on Monday. The club also optioned left-hander Francisco Rondon and right-handers Dellin Betances and Brett Marshall to Triple-A.
Left-handers Manny Banuelos and Nik Turley, right-hander Jose Ramirez and outfielder Ramon Flores were optioned to Double-A Trenton, while right-hander Chase Whitley, catcher J.R. Murphy and infielder Luke Murton were reassigned to Minor League camp.
The Yankees now have 52 players in camp (26 pitchers, three catchers, 12 infielders, 10 outfielders and one designated hitter).
Velazquez saddened Mexico-Canada fracas occurred
TAMPA, Fla. -- Gil Velazquez emerged relatively unscathed from Saturday's World Baseball Classic fracas between Team Mexico and Team Canada, but the Yankees' infielder said he was saddened to have been involved in such an incident.
"Instead of people talking about us playing good baseball, now they're talking about a brawl," said Velazquez, who was playing shortstop for Mexico during the game at Chase Field. "That's the sad part about it.
"We don't want to be known as wild people, crazy people. We are good, decent people and we play good baseball. That's what we want to be known for. The sad part is, all that got thrown out the window when the brawls went down."
In the game, Canada's Chris Robinson laid down a ninth-inning bunt single with Canada leading, 9-3. Mexico pitcher Arnold Leon threw three pitches at the next batter, Rene Tosoni, who was hit in the back with the third pitch to spark the benches-clearing melee.
"I really wasn't scared. I was under control," Velazquez said. "More than anything, I was just making sure nobody got a sucker-punch on me, so I was looking around. It was hard to know who was who because everybody [was wearing] red."
The incident was attributed to a misunderstanding about the tiebreaking rules in the first round, round-robin format that places a premium on the number of runs scored.