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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Hi, nice to meet you

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Apr 29, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Phil Hughes has started six games this season. His catchers:

April 3: Molina
April 8: Posada
April 13: Molina
April 18: Moeller
April 24: Molina
April 29: Stewart

Six games, four catchers. It’s not an excuse, clearly Hughes has to pitch better than he has. But I would imagine it’s hard to get in synch when you haven’t been caught by the same guy for two games in a row.

Jorge Posada’s injury really does have far-reaching implications. Hughes is certainly one of the victims.

Meanwhile, the Yankees left 13 runners on base tonight, six in scoring position. They just can’t get on any kind of roll offensively. Missing Posada and A-Rod certainly doesn’t help that.

Lots of treading water so far. They’re fortunate no team has jumped out in front in the division.





59 Responses to “Hi, nice to meet you”

  1. THU April 29th, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    I am not a fan of one finger Moeller, but Hughes needs to step up. If he can’t theres no reason why he should be up in the major leagues. I’m not saying he is a bad pitcher, but you can’t have guys who aren’t fully ready to take this load up yet.

  2. Brian April 29th, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    I agree 100% Pete. Great post.

  3. Yankee Fan in Boston April 29th, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Peter, I’m not able to catch the post-game, but does anyone ask Girardi about this? Or why he has so many different lineups/defensive positionings? It seems so helter skelter, I’d like to know what the man himself thinks.

  4. TKinDC April 29th, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    I’m not defending the entire pattern, but you almost always see guys who get called up play right away (Unless their name is Britton). The idea is to get them right into the action so they don’t have to think too much.

    In this case, I would have set that aside and put Molina in.

  5. george April 29th, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    i hope, and assume, the Yankees will be patient with Hughes. Right now, it’s just a horrible month, which happens to be the first of the season.

  6. frits April 29th, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    hughes is not a “victim”. i know you didn’t mean it that way per se, but the guy needs more velocity on his fastball, he needs to command it better, and he needs to throw more than 5 sliders and changeups (combined!) out of 85 or so pitches. i know it doesn’t help that his catcher can’t figure out the difference between a curveball and a fastball, but honestly hughes, ohlendorf did just fine with the same guy.

    it looks like a AAA stint may be the best thing for this guy. and here’s hoping he gets those 3 MPH back on the heat.

  7. Drive 4-5 April 29th, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    The catcher isnt the one throwing straight fastbals. Phil needs to go to Scranton to learn to get some movement

  8. Clay Bellinger April 29th, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    It’s not an excuse, clearly Hughes has to pitch better than he has.

    Sure sounds like an excuse. Hughes has looked horrible. Let him go back to AAA and bring up Rasner or Igawa.

  9. Fran April 29th, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Yanks just put ARod on the DL

  10. Patrick Bateman April 29th, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    No excuses. He’s been plain ugly.

    He’s not attacking the hitters. He keeps trying to float his fastball in on the corners. Its not working. He needs to go to Scranton and work on his mechanics. He’s not learning anything pitching 3 innings a start.

  11. TKinDC April 29th, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    A-Rod DL’D


    That’s $40M of players on the shelf.

  12. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 29th, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    A-Rod on the DL.

    This is not quite what we needed.

  13. frits April 29th, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    link for A-rod and DL??

  14. jrealty (formerly Jesse) April 29th, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    Haven’t seen anyone mention this but doesn’t the pitching coach or manager call the pitch selection from the dugout, especially in this exact situation of a new catcher and rookie pitcher???

    I guess what I am asking is: is this all just on Hughes/Stewart?

  15. NYY April 29th, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    They’re fortunate no team has jumped out in front in the division.

    That doesn’t mean it’s going to be a a cake-walk(atleast in the regular season) like it was last 10 years. Every team in AL East is much better than they were in the last 10 years. Rays & Orioles – the supposed cellar dwellers are fight for the top spot right now. Even neither of them wins the division that doesn’t mean they r going to lay over for the Yanks.

  16. Otto Velez April 29th, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    Yikes!!! More Ensberg @ 3b. Not a good scenario…

  17. NYY April 29th, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    AROD DL link please. That’s not good.

  18. Otto Velez April 29th, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Wow, Al Leiter was just pretty animated discussing Phil Hughes. Someone must have told him he has to be awake to drive home.

  19. EY April 29th, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    Maybe it’s time to relaunch the Igawa experiment? He does cost many many millions…

  20. Pick April 29th, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    jeez the yanks can’t catch a break!

    at least its in the early part of the year.

  21. Fran April 29th, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    It’s on YES – they just interviewed Cashman.

  22. saucY April 29th, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Terrible neqa. Was just on yes

  23. Otto Velez April 29th, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    Is it too late for Cashman to throw a call to Scott Brosius? I think he’s available for a few weeks.

  24. Betsy April 29th, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Could Girardi please pull his head out of his behind? He’s absolutely clueless……Instead of doing what he could to get his kid pitcher as comfortable as possible, he puts a completely unknown catcher behind the plate and the worst possible defense. It’s a damning thing to say, but Girardi did NOT put Phil in the best position to do well tonight. I’m pretty peeved. Enough with the freaking lineup changes – no wonder there is grumbling within the clubhouse. Joe can’t leave well enough alone – he’s got to tinker with everything. UGH.

  25. saucy April 29th, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    News :|

  26. YankeeJosh April 29th, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    Hughes was not good tonight. No doubt. But I can’t help feeling that had Molina been behind the plate, he could have nursed Phil through some of the rough patches. If he could have gotten him through 5 innings with 4 runs. Even if he could do that it’d be a big help.

    The problem for the Yankees is that their best defensive alignment is Melky in Center, Damon in Left, Shelley or Eneberg at First and Giambi on the bench. Since Girardi insists on starting Giambi, the defense has to be compromised somewhere, in the outfield or at first.

  27. Betsy April 29th, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    Anyone care to summarize Cash’s interview? I missed it – thanks!

    I read that Phil looked particularly crestfall as he walked off the mound (no wonder, and then to be booed off). That really cinches it (not the Cashman thing, but the fact that Phil looked really down on himself). I want him down in AAA now – he’s got too much future for it to be shattered like this. If they keep him up here now, he may never recover. Phil is too talented and too special a young man to take chances with…..He’s got to go to AAA if for no other reason than to get his head cleared. I would also like to take a moment to thank (NOT!!) the idiots who decided to ***** with Phil’s natural delivery (when there was nothing wrong with it) and make him pitch with mechanics that are clearly not comfortable to him. Right now, Nardi and Eiland are on my ***list. I will never forgive them or this team if they have messed Phil up for good.

  28. saucy April 29th, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    Second guessing the catching choice tonight is silly. You can see Molina caught Phil 3 times so far. Has that really worked out well?

  29. Cool Eddy April 29th, 2008 at 11:12 pm;page=85

    Hughes looks like a completely different pitcher in this video.

  30. Otto Velez April 29th, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    Cashman basically talked about placing A-Rod on the 15 day DL. Coming back from the day off after the short rest and re-injuring it didn’t do any additional damage and was trying to play thru the injury.

    On Phil Hughes, he didn’t say much other than they will evaluate as they always do and make a decision. Didn’t say he was going to remain on the staff or head to SWB.

    My guess is that he will gather the brain trust and make a decision on what to do with him.

  31. YankeeJosh April 29th, 2008 at 11:23 pm


    April 3: Molina 6 innings, 2 runs
    April 8: Posada 3 innings, 3 runs
    April 13: Molina 2 innings 7 runs
    April 18: Moeller 5.1 innings, 5 runs
    April 24: Molina 2 innings, 0 runs

    He’s had two good starts and one bad start with Molina.
    One bad start with Posada.
    A mediocre start with Moeller.
    A bad start with Stewart.

    His “flashes” this year have come with Molina catching. Is it coincidence? Maybe. But given how great Molina is at framing pitches and calling a game, I doubt it.

  32. Betsy April 29th, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    Thanks, Otto!

    I heard that Phil basically said tonight that he had no control over his FB. Now, that is VERY troubling. It’s not as bad, obviously, as Ankiel, but man – SOMETHING is going on here. If you can’t control the FB, then you have no future in baseball -A, AA, AAA or MLB. I say to Phil – just go with your natural mechanics no matter WHAT Nardi the genius (NOT) says.

  33. Otto Velez April 29th, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    There has been alot of talk about the yankees tinkering with his mechanics. Where is this info coming from? Chatter from here or did this come from some yankee interview?

  34. crazyyankeefan April 29th, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    Is it true that the Yankees have changed Hughes’ mechanics and messed him up? Is it true he used to have the fastball with better velocity and movement? If he was rated the top 1 prospect by every scout, how come his stuff doesn’t show that way?

  35. Carrie April 30th, 2008 at 12:11 am

    I can’t understand some of yankees management’s strategies.While you guys put Jorge on DL,then you DFA chad moeller and allow the minor backup catcher to play with young’s time to recall igawa or move Ohlendorf to be a starter.

  36. Craig April 30th, 2008 at 12:19 am

    How is that Santana guy doing this year???

  37. Terry April 30th, 2008 at 12:21 am

    Hughes will be fine. Hes 21 yrs old. Hes the 4th starter.


  38. Terry April 30th, 2008 at 12:21 am

    I’d rather watch Hughes and Kennedy fight thru it than see Igawa and that ugly mug and sunglasses.

  39. JoeT YANKEES - Joba = SP April 30th, 2008 at 12:22 am

    Ugh, I cringe at the name “Igawa”

  40. A-Point April 30th, 2008 at 12:42 am

    I don’t understand how Girardi put all the blame on Hughes getting crossed up with Stewart. Ohlendorf also had some problems.

    When you have a young pitcher on the mound shouldn’t you be looking to have a veteran catcher behind the plate rather than someone you know nothing about? Hughes could have been told to just throw whatever pitches Molina calls for. It might not have made a big difference, but I doubt that it would have resulted in so many crossed up catches.

    Putting Melky on the bench and Matsui in Left cost a good deal as well. Damon cost a run with that one ball because of his weak throwing arm.

    Girardi isn’t doing all that well in my book. I think his playing around with the lineup as if this is fantasy baseball isn’t helping the batters. Batters get used to batting ahead or behind other players. Giving guys “rests” when they had been hitting well. Putting weaker defense out there with Hughes on the mound. That doesn’t seem like someone making fundamentally sound moves.

    As to A-Rod’s injury woes, I would bet that being hit by that pitch didn’t help. The way he tried to jump out the way and the place it hit was right in the general area of where he was grabbing when it first got hurt. A Manager needs to know when to sit a player when they get hurt. Strains take a set length of time to heal. Where is the medical advice coming from that he was allowed out there so soon? Same with Jorge. Sit him, don’t let him swing the bat instead. That is just plain stupidity.

    Unless Girardi grows some brain cells about how to really manage the game he won’t be lasting long in the Bronx.

  41. Big Johnson April 30th, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Hughes has been terrible. I know you are married to phil franchise, but honestly you are picking at straws to rationalize hig simply dreadful performance.

    And you guys though I was crazy for wanting to trade him for santana in the off season. Sheesh.

  42. Bill W April 30th, 2008 at 1:16 am

    What’s the deal with Hughes? All through the minors and when they were talking about trading him, all i heard is that he is a power pitcher with a solid low-mid 90′s fastball. Mostly i’ve seen him sit at 90-91 on most of his fastballs. Surely this can’t be the same fastball that jorge posada posada called the best fastball in camp a couple of years ago and was compared to roger clemens.

  43. crazyyankeefan April 30th, 2008 at 1:47 am

    Personally, I want Girardi gone. I think he’s a lousy manager. Hughes is still searching. Instead of helping Hughes out, Girardi decided to make it tougher for him. Also, why does a 24 yr-old CF need a day off? These are just two examples of Girardi’s many mistakes this season, and he definitely plays around the lineup way too much.

  44. Girardi on the DL April 30th, 2008 at 1:58 am

    I think the best thing to happen to the Yankees would be for Girardi to go on the DL. Then maybe the lineup and fielding positions will get a chance to settle in.

    If he keeps doing as he is, his will be a short tenure in the Bronx.

  45. dougj1 April 30th, 2008 at 2:57 am

    Way to go guys! Keep it up! Keep blaming the catcher for this dismal performance of Hughes. If that doesn’t work, blame Girardi, or the pitching coach. How about the guy pushing beer down the RF line?…Remember, keep blaming everyone except the great GM Cashman, who is responsible for putting together this team!!!!!

  46. Toby K. April 30th, 2008 at 3:38 am

    Now the Yankees should switch Joba and Phil’s spots in the rotation, making Joba a starter and Phil a reliever. Don’t forget that post season game last year when Phil came in and shined… stud. It was our only win. Now you get the best of both worlds, Joba in the rotation, and someone to Phil in the 8th. They also have around the same innings limits I do believe, tagged around 140-150. Why not see how it works out, you never know, Phil could get back on track in the set-up role and move back to the rotation at a later point. Joba… he may shine in the rotation, nobody can say that the Yankees shouldn’t try him in the rotation, his ceiling is an Ace, comparable to Beckett. #1 Ace > Mo. Sorry, but wouldn’t you trade 1 dominant inning for 6-9? If Joba doesn’t work in the starting rotation like Phil, then switch them again. Bingo! Whammy…

  47. Nick April 30th, 2008 at 6:00 am

    It looks like his fastball is nearly completely to blame, since his curveball has actually been more effective this season than it was last September when he finished 3-0 in 5 starts.

    Seven Months of Separation
    Phil Hughes’ Ups and Downs

    SEPTEMBER 2007
    3-0 in 5 starts with a 2.73 ERA
    Opponents hitting .224 vs fastballs
    Opponents hitting .231 vs curveballs
    52.7 pct of curveballs going for strikes

    APRIL 2008
    0-4 in 6 starts with a 9.00 ERA
    Opponents hitting .431 vs fastballs
    Opponents hitting .192 vs curveballs
    60.2 pct of curveballs going for strikes

  48. Fredo Corleone April 30th, 2008 at 6:54 am

    “It’s not an excuse, clearly Hughes has to pitch better than he has.”

    You just used it as an excuse Pete. He’s obviously not as bad as his ERA and WHIP suggest, but he’s a kid (a far logical excuse)and expectations on him were too high. It’s rare a kid that age doesn’t come up and get thumped a bit his 1st full season. See the more talented Felix Hernandez for an example. Had a brilliant debut in his 1st half season or so, then in his 1st full season, he really struggled for awhile before settling in around the league average for ERA. Hughes is a talented kid, but he’s not Felix. We have to give him time.

  49. Ray April 30th, 2008 at 7:05 am

    The youth movement is just thye latest chapter in Brian Cashmans decision making. The yanks should have been full speed ahead on Santana. Hughes gave less than 4 innings AGAIN yesterday.

  50. Drew April 30th, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Not that it might have made a difference, but Molina should have been catching Hughes with Stewart catching Pettitte.

  51. Joe M. April 30th, 2008 at 10:06 am

    This article by Joel Sherman in today’s Post says that Hughes is having trouble seeing the catcher’s signs at night.

  52. Joe M. April 30th, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Gosh, that looks ugly! How do I get the URL to wrap?

  53. Bronx Bomber April 30th, 2008 at 11:15 am

    We’re not calling him The Franchise anymore, Mr. Tongue-In-Cheek?

  54. PattiCake April 30th, 2008 at 11:35 am

    I definitely fault Girardi for putting Stewart behind the plate and sitting Melky. Those first two runs could have been prevented and who knows? Maybe it could have gone better.

    Phil needs to locate his fastball but he also needs confidence and being boo’d off the mound at the Stadium is NOT the way to do it.

    Yeah, Phil needs to work on his mechanics but he’s 21 years old and the fact that the entire team was not on hand to shore him up is a bad managerial decision.

    Melky should have played from the start. Molina should have been behind the plate. It would not have solved everything but it would not have been the disaster it was.

  55. LadyBug626 April 30th, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Good post Pete. It doesn’t help the Phil hasn’t had a consistent catcher. But it’s obvious that he’s not ready yet. It’s disappointing because he pitched so well at the end of last year and was amazing in the playoffs. I’m not sure what changed in his pitching between last year and this year.

  56. PattiCake April 30th, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    He’s a kid. He’s going to struggle. He needs to develop his other pitches and locate his fastball. He’s in trouble but I fault Girardi for throwing him to the wolves without adequate backup (catcher, defense) last night. Maybe he would have still stunk up the joint but it might not have been as bad.

    I’m really pissed that people would boo Phil but I think that Girardi should own that one too. It’s his fault.

    I’ve been a HUGE Joe. G. supporter up until last night. I have not been able to figure out some of these lineups, I wish he would just SIT Giambi and get Kevin Long to straighten Robbie out with that swinging at garbage pitches but all was well with me and Joe G. until last night

    Seeing the scrubs he fielded with a pitcher who needs support was startling and disappointing.

  57. bodhisattva April 30th, 2008 at 2:08 pm


  58. bodhisattva April 30th, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Hey Pete,

    We’re not really “lucky” that no team has run away with it, so much as the fact that those other teams are flawed, too, which means they weren’t capable of piling up wins and running away from us. “luck” doesn’t really have much to do with it.

  59. KarenJ April 30th, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Wow, if I didn’t know better, I’d think I was reading a fantasy-baseball-owners blog instead of a real team’s reporter’s blog.

    Most of you evidently don’t give a darn about Phil Hughes as a person, because NOT ONE of you remarked on the nasty way the Yankee “fans” booed him off the mound. How can that help a rookie that young?

    He may now be another one in the long line of guys who prosper and pitch well everywhere but in the Bronx. I hope Cashman takes that into consideration before the kid’s confidence is entirely ruined.

    But knowing how stubborn some people are, I’ll bet he gets traded only AFTER he’s been through the wringer a year or so, and his career MLB ERA is up around 7.00 or 8.00.


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