Girardi uncertain if Hughes will be ready by April

TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he is still waiting for Phil Hughes to be cleared to resume throwing and acknowledged on Wednesday that there is a chance the right-hander will not be ready to begin the season.

"It's possible," Girardi said. "I think it's too early to tell that, though."

Hughes has been limited to aquatic exercises and underwater treadmill work at the Yankees' Minor League complex for the last week after a bulging disk was identified in his upper back. Hughes said that he has already missed too much of the spring for his taste.

"All I know is I'm pain free, so I'm going to try to move this thing along as quickly as possible," Hughes said. "But obviously I have to go with what the doctor says and make sure it's completely calmed down before I can do anything."

Girardi said that Hughes needs to make four Grapefruit League starts to build his stamina into the area of 75-80 pitches, which would be enough to break camp with the club.

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