MLB notes: Pirates pitcher Jared Hughes denies racial slur

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:24 PM ET

Jared Hughes is shocked that Brandon Phillips has renewed an accusation that he was the target of a racial slur from the Pittsburgh Pirates reliever.

The two supposedly had settled the matter during a phone call Tuesday.

But Phillips later went on TV and said Hughes had called him "boy" during a spat Monday night after the Cincinnati Reds infielder was hit by a pitch.

"I did not make any comment with a racial undertone or connotation during our exchange on Monday night, period," Hughes said in a statement Wednesday. "While I cannot repeat everything that I said because I did swear, it is obvious when reviewing the tape that I in no way, shape or form made any remark that was in any way connected to race. It is not how I was raised and not who I am as a person."

The Pirates TV broadcast from the game seems to back Hughes.

2013 SKED HAS BALANCE

There will be an interleague game virtually every day under the tentative 2013 schedule released Wednesday.

The 2013 season will open with one game March 31 -- teams are yet to be determined -- and will feature the Houston Astros' shift to the AL West Division. Houston's first AL game will be April 2 against new division rival Texas at Minute Maid Park. With the move, each league will have 15 teams.

The first interleague matchup will have the Los Angeles Angels visiting the Cincinnati Reds on April 1 -- one of 12 games that day.

Each team will play 20 interleague games throughout the season in eight series -- four at home and four on the road.

Each team will play 76 games against its four divisional opponents -- 19 apiece -- and 66 games against non-divisional opponents from the same league -- six or seven games against each.

The Toronto Blue Jays will open at home April 2 against the Cleveland Indians. Interleague play for the Jays begins May 14 at home to San Francisco. Other NL foes will be Atlanta, Colorado, the L.A. Dodgers, San Diego and Phoenix.

PETTITTE DECLARES HE'S READY

Left-hander Andy Pettitte said Wednesday he was set to rejoin the New York Yankees, having recovered from a fractured left ankle.

The 40-year-old threw 55 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday.

Pettitte was 3-3 with a 3.22 earned-run average in nine starts until he got hurt June 27 when hit by a line drive.

He could return to the rotation Tuesday unless the Yanks prefer that he throw another simulated game first.

Meanwhile, Ivan Nova, who hasn't pitched since Aug. 21 because of a sore shoulder, will start Saturday, the Yankees announced.

BRIEFLY

Corey Hart expects to rejoin the Milwaukee Brewers soon after injuring his left foot Sunday but the outfielder/first baseman expects he'll have to play with the pain the rest of the season. Hart is hitting .278 with 27 homers and 77 RBI ... Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jason Hammel will have an MRI Thursday on his right knee. The right-hander had surgery on the knee in July and felt pain when he pitched Tuesday night.


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