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Hughes Throws Off Mound, Says He Is Pain-Free

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KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 6:  Phil Hughes #65 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium May 6, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Phil Hughes

KANSAS CITY, MO – MAY 6: Phil Hughes #65 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium May 6, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Phil Hughes

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Yankees starter Phil Hughes has thrown 27 pitches off a bullpen mound three weeks after being diagnosed with a bulging disk in his upper back.

Hughes says the session on Monday was a big step in trying to be ready to pitch during the opening week of the regular season.

The right-hander added that he is pain-free. He is scheduled to throw batting practice Thursday and could follow that with a simulated game.

Hughes, who went 16-13 with a 4.19 ERA over 32 starts last season, had a 10-pitch mound session Saturday.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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