Outlook: Hughes primed for big season in 2013

NEW YORK -- Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes is scheduled to make a Minor League rehab start for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on Saturday against the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Hughes pitched seven innings in an extended spring training start on Monday in Tampa, Fla., and he said that his condition continues to improve after a bulging disk in his upper back derailed his spring in February.

Hughes would be eligible to be activated from the disabled list on Saturday, but the Minor League assignment in Moosic, Pa., lines him up instead to pitch on April 11 against the Indians in Cleveland. It is likely that Hughes' return would bump right-hander David Phelps to the bullpen.

Jeter plays long toss, but no timetable on return

BOS@NYY: Girardi says Jeter will be everyday player

NEW YORK -- Yankees captain Derek Jeter played long-toss and performed strengthening exercises on Wednesday in Tampa, Fla., but he is not expected to be ready to come off the disabled list when eligible on Saturday.

Jeter has not played in a game since March 23, when he grounded out four times as the designated hitter in a Minor League contest. Jeter felt soreness in his surgically repaired left ankle the next day and has been largely out of action since that date.

"Our expectation is that he is going to be an everyday player again," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's just when is what we're concerned about, and how long it takes for him to get through what he needs to get through to be that everyday player."

The Yankees have said that they will only activate Jeter if he proves that he is able to play nine innings of shortstop in back-to-back games, and not as a designated hitter.

Jeter did not play any more than five innings in the field this spring with New York. While the Yankees wait for Jeter, Eduardo Nunez will continue to see duty as the team's everyday shortstop.

Bombers bits

• Left-hander Clay Rapada has been issued his unconditional release. Rapada was sidelined with left shoulder bursitis late this spring and had been designated for assignment to clear room for first baseman Lyle Overbay on the Yankees' 40-man roster.

• With six players (Ben Francisco, Shawn Kelley, Travis Hafner, Overbay, Vernon Wells and Kevin Youkilis) making their Yankees debuts on Monday, it marked the most Yankees debuts in any single game since the franchise's first game -- then known as the Highlanders -- on April 22, 1903.

• On this date in 1919, Yankees outfielder Ping Bodie defeated an ostrich named Percy in a spaghetti-eating competition in Jacksonville, Fla. Bodie won when Percy passed out following his 11th plate of pasta, according to the SABR Baseball Biography Project.