"I was doing some agility work in my spikes, just normal stuff," Phil Hughes said describing his ankle injury. "It was just one of those freak things where I went to change direction and I just rolled it. I didn't really think it was too bad at first."
"It hurt, but it hurts when you roll an ankle, whether it's a mild sprain or whatever. But I didn't think too much about it, but they wanted to get me an MRI just to make sure, and it showed that it was worse than I thought."
"I sprained my ankle pretty bad and they put me in a boot just to immobilize it until I got better," he continued. "They wanted it on me for four weeks and it will have been four weeks this Friday."
"I'll get the boot off on Friday and they'll get me into a fully functional brace, which I can actually throw off of a mound in. Supposedly this brace will be pretty good. We'll see how stable it is. It should be a little bit of long-toss before I get on the mound and then kind of work into games."
The lack of a defined return date for Hughes has been frustrating to most Yankees' fans, but the fact of the matter is nothing can be determined until Hughes actually starts throwing a baseball again.
"They don't want to set up a rehab schedule until I'm out and throwing," Hughes revealed. "I'm sure once I get into my long-toss program and everything is going well, then we'll map out when I'll get into rehab games and things like that."
"But right now, they can't tell anything until I get the boot off and I start throwing, just to see how it feels. From there we can plan on what we're going to do. I don't really have a specific [return] date right now."
Once Hughes gets into the brace and begins his long-toss program, he'll start off throwing a baseball on flat ground at 90-feet before stretching it to 120 feet. Roughly a week after that he'll get up on a rehab mound before later moving to a regular mound, throwing only fastballs in his first bullpen session.
After that, the next step would be throwing a couple of regular bullpen sessions before throwing live batting practice. Upon the conclusion of his live batting practice, he would most likely make a some rehab appearances in either the Gulf Coast League or with the Tampa Yankees.
The entire rehab process, from the time his boot comes off until he makes some rehab appearances in game situations, would take a minimum of two to three weeks - and that's an optimistic timetable.
"I feel fine," Hughes said of his ankle injury right now. "I feel great, but I've been in this boot. The big test will be when I get this thing off and start running on it, long-toss, and then get on the mound, that will be the real test. Right now I don't anticipate there being any problems with that."
Seemingly snakebit since taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his second career big league start, it has been a frustrating time since that May 1st start in Texas.
"I don't know what was more frustrating, that or being so close to coming back and then doing this to my ankle," said the right-hander. "It just seemed like nothing could go right. I try not to dwell on it too much. I'm just focusing on getting back and help out where I'm needed."
"It was frustrating because I knew I was going to miss time. I felt so comfortable coming off of my last start in Triple-A, and obviously my first big league start I wasn't as focused as I could have been with all the things that were going on in my head, but that second start I felt I was going good."
"My mechanics were good and knowing there was going to be this big build-up to get back to where I was, it was frustrating. I try not to dwell on it too much and just focus on what I need to do to get back and help out."
Hughes' Return Still Up In The Air
Pinstripes Plus Top Stories
Scouting Yankees Prospect #54: Jeff DeganoThe Yankees selected left-handed pitcher Jeff Degano in the second round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Indiana State University. Statistically it was a nightmare first full season…
Pinstripes PlusYesterday at 8:54 PM
Top Five Yankee Trade ChipsThe Yankees haven't just been promoting prospects from within to help the big club, they've used them as trade chips to get more established players. Austin Jackson [and others] to…
Pinstripes PlusMonday at 8:58 PM
Scouting Yankees Prospect #55: Chaz HebertThe New York Yankees selected left-handed pitcher Chaz Hebert in the 27th round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Breaux Bridge High School in Louisiana. He had overcome a slower start…
Pinstripes PlusSunday at 8:58 PM
The Next TenWith the Yankee farm system as beefed up and as deep as ever it was tough to narrow down the Top 50 prospects. Many others were considered for the rankings. Here are the next ten…