We put the call out earlier this week and more than 400 of you answered, sending questions in for 21-year-old right-hander Phil Hughes. It was tough to cut them down, so please don’t be offended if your question wasn’t asked.
It was no surprise so many people had questions. ‘Phil Franchise’ is one of baseball’s top young pitchers and is so valuable to the Yankees that they decided not to trade him as part of a package for Johan Santana.
Hughes also has his own blog that is entertaining and drawing thousands of page views every day. This Q&A will appear over on his blog as well.
It was very cool of Phil to do this and we wish him well on the coming season. Now on with your questions.
Here is the audio of the questions being answered. The interview was held Thursday afternoon at his locker at Legends Field in Tampa:
And here is the transcript:
Ben from Maine: How is the changeup coming along and is it something you spent a lot of time in the offseason?
Phil Hughes: Well, I didn’t throw from October through December mostly, so I didn’t spend a lot of time working on it in the offseason but it’s coming along. It’s still not a pitch that’s up in my top two. But it’s a usable pitch and I plan on using a lot more this season than I did last
Joe from Connecticut: Do you support the idea of an innings limit for you this season or would you prefer to have the final say on what you can do?
Phil Hughes: I support whatever the organization feels is enough innings for me. Obviously there will be an innings limit. I’m not going to go out there and throw 200+ innings. Obviously they want to protect my arm for the future. Whether I feel like I can throw more innings is not my call and I’ll support whatever route they decide to go.
Rita from the Philippines: Who would win a cage fight between Joba (Chamberlain) and Ian (Kennedy)?
Phil Hughes: That’s a good one. Joba has the size advantage but Ian’s a little bit sneakier so I’ll give the edge to Ian.
Jim: With all the success Mariano Rivera has had with his cutter, why don’t you think more people have tried to throw it and have you ever tried it?
Phil Hughes: I’ve never tried to throw a cutter. People are under the notion that you can just pick up and any pitch and go ahead and use it and it will be as good as the best in the league. Mariano has the unique ability to throw a really good cutter and a lot of guys do throw cutters. But they aren’t Mariano Rivera cutters. I’ve never attempted to throw one. Maybe sometime down the line I’ll mess around with it. But not everybody has Mo’s cutter.
Dee from Manhattan: A lot of people know that The Office is your favorite show. If had to choose some players from the team who are the most like certain characters, what could you come up with?
Phil Hughes: Man, that’s a good question. I’m not going to put anyone on Pam because that would just be insulting I think, to be compared to a woman. I’d say Jeff Marquez would be the best Dwight. Moose would make a good Stanley, I think. I think anyway I go about this people are going to be upset. I’ve got to think of a good Michael. Who would make a good Michael? I’m going to go ahead and throw Joba under the bus and say he’s a good Michael.
Greg from Pennsylvania: What’s the strangest request you’ve received since you’ve been on the Yankees?
Phil Hughes: Strangest request? That’s a tough one. I’d probably say people wanting to come over to my house. That’s kind of a strange request. Yeah, I thought that was kind of weird.
Giselle from Boston: If you had a chance to face one batter, present or past, who would you like to face?
Phil Hughes: I don’t think about these things too often. Probably Ted Williams. Arguably the best hitter of all time. I’d go with Ted Williams.
Vivianna from Connecticut: You’re a big autograph collector. What are three autographs you would want to get?
Phil Hughes: This spring I want to try and get Bob Feller when we go to Cleveland. He’s one I want to get. Other than that, I try to kind of get guys on the tail end of their careers. Maybe guys I won’t have the opportunity in the future to get. Maybe a guy like Frank Thomas or somebody like that. I kind of go on a whim. I don’t have them planned out of anything.
Chris from Vermont: Now that you’re kind of that college age and guys like Ian and Joba went to college, do you ever wonder what it would have been like to go to school?
Phil Hughes: Yeah, sometimes I wonder what path I would have gone if I had gone to college. I don’t have any regrets. I made my big league debut when I would have been a junior in college. I’m happy with the decision I made to pass up college. But, yeah, sometimes I think about where I’d be and what I’d be doing.
Rob from Westchester: What are some of your favorite places to hang out in New York or favorite restaurants?
Phil Hughes: Last year I didn’t really hang out in New York too much. I lived in Edgewater, Jersey, you know, a little less stressful I think than the city. What are my favorite restaurants to go and eat? A lot of times everywhere is closed once the game is over so we’d just eat at the field. But if we ever had a day game and free evening we’d go to Flemings,. which they have here in Tampa as well. Flemings is one of my favorite restaurants. We’d try and go there as much as we could.
Rachel from Long Island: How are you going to be living in New York this year and how will you be getting around?
Phil Hughes: I haven’t decided yet. I don’t know if I want to bring my car up. Last year I did that. I’m still debating whether I want to live in the city. That’s up in the air.
Nicole from New Jersey: Do you have any superstitions or rituals you go through before you pitch?
Phil Hughes: Not really any set in stone. I don’t like to really be so dependent on stuff like that. If things are going well, I’ll try to repeat my routine as much as possible just because if things are going right, why try and change something? But as far as if I tie my shoes a certain way or anything like that, nothing too specific.
Todd: Is there a nickname you like to see for you, Ian and Joba? Is there any you’ve heard that you liked?
Phil Hughes: As far as the three of us combined or individually? It seems when groups of people get nicknames it always doesn’t turn out well. Maybe if we could try to keep that out of the equation.
Yanks9783: When you’re on the mound, how much of it is your call in terms of what (pitch) you throw and how much do you trust the catcher to make those decisions?
Phil Hughes: When it comes down to it, it’s 100 percent my call. You know, I’m the one who has to deliver the baseball. But a lot of times you will go with what your catcher thinks. Obviously Jorge (Posada) has been in this league a long time and he knows these hitters pretty well. Especially in the East, year after year. You’ll go a little bit with what he has to say.
Teomcdolh: Are you a car guy and what kind of car do you drive?
Phil Hughes: I’d like to be a car guy. I don’t really have the income to be a car guy yet. I drive a Tahoe and that’s the only one I have.
Follow up question: Is there a favorite car you’d like to have some time or you have your eye on?
Phil Hughes: My dream car right now would be the new Aston Martin DB9. That’s probably quite a few years away.
Jeremy: If you did not have the kind of athletic ability that you have and were not a baseball player what do you think you’d be doing now?
Phil Hughes: I try not to think about that too much. Let’s see, right now I’d be getting through hopefully my last year of college, my fourth year. I’ve always had an interest in baseball, whether it be the off-the-field side of it or whatever. Maybe something in business or finance. I’m pretty good with numbers.
Matt: Now that this will be the last year in Yankee Stadium, is there anything you’d like to have as some sort of memorabilia of having played there?
Phil Hughes: Yeah, I actually looked into this last year just to try and get my name on a list early or whatever to see if I could get a couple of seats when they rip them out. That would be pretty cool to put in your office sometime down the line. That kind of stuff, it’s pretty cool to have and meaningful, especially when your career is over.
Greg: If you could see any musician or band, dead or alive, who would you see?
Phil Hughes: I’ve gotten to see Metallica before, definitely my favorite band. So any Metallica show I’d choose over anything else.
Bogsbogs: If you were stranded on a desert island and you only had three CDs that you could have with you and one person, what would they be?
Phil Hughes: Three CDs? Wow. I should think about these more. No. 1, Metallica S&M. … Two, I’d probably go … can they be mix CDs? I’d have to go mix CDs. I mean, desert island, you got CDs, there’s always a couple of duds on there and I don’t know if I could live with that for the rest of my life. I’d have to go with a mix CD. Some Metallica on there. It would have to be hard music, though. If you’re sitting there on a desert island the last thing you need is depressing, slow music.
Follow up question: What about the one person you’d take?
Phil Hughes: I’d probably take my best friend. Her name’s Allison. I’d take Allison. Somebody I can talk to, get along with. I mean desert island for the rest of your life.
Thanks again to Phil for doing this. Please see our previous Q&A session with these Yankees:
and Jason Giambi
We’ll keep doing these fan interviews throughout the season.