Hughes: Mid-month is the goal

March, 1, 2013
3/01/13
3:12
PM ET
Phil Hughes said he will first test his bulging disk in his back when he picks up a ball on Sunday. Speaking on ESPN New York 98.7 FM with Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco, Hughes said in order for him to be ready for Opening Day he needs to be in a game by either March 15th or 16th. If that happens, then Hughes believes he will not miss any starts, something that Joe Girardi has raised as a possibility.

As for the mood in camp, Hughes said even though the Yankees aren't in their usual favorites role this year, the feeling is the same. As for the make-up of the club, Hughes said he thinks this team will win with an old-fashioned model.

"I think it is going to be pitching and defense," Hughes said.

Hughes is a key component to make that happen. If healthy, the top three starters seem very likely to be successful. At the No. 5 spot, Ivan Nova and David Phelps are more wild cards, which leaves Hughes to add depth each week to the Yankees' rotation.
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146