Phil Hughes to miss 'a few days' with back stiffness

02/19/2013 2:03 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Phil Hughes felt upper back stiffness after fielding grounders and will miss a few days.(AP)
New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Tuesday that right-hander Phil Hughes will be shut down for a few days due to upper back stiffness near his shoulder, an injury the skipper said flared up while Hughes was fielding grounders during Pitchers’ Fielding Practice.

"There's always a little bit of concern," Girardi said, adding that Hughes was seen by a doctor Tuesday but he wasn’t sure if the righty underwent any tests.

Hughes, who will be a free agent after 2013, is penciled in to the No. 4 starter’s spot after going 16-13 with a 4.23 ERA in 2012, but has been plagued at times over the last two years by back issues – including one that forced him to leave Game 3 of the 2012 ALCS – and now will likely miss at least one turn through the spring rotation while dealing with this setback.

Girardi had already announced on Tuesday that David Phelps will start Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener on Saturday and Adam Warren will follow on Sunday in the home spring opener; now, with both Hughes and CC Sabathia, who is also not expected to pitch in the first turn through the rotation while finishing his rehab from October elbow surgery, on the sidelines, the door could be open for prospects like lefty Vidal Nuno or righty Brett Marshall to earn at least one start early in the Grapefruit schedule.

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES comments