The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Guess who’s back? It’s Phil Hughes

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc, Podcast on Apr 29, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Phil Hughes wasn’t just good tonight, he was great. Six scoreless innings, two hits, two walks, six strikeouts. He threw 59 of 99 pitches for strikes and never cracked in a scoreless duel with Edwin Jackson.

If you were watching closely, Hughes had to fight to get command of his curveball. It was all over the place in the first few innings, even when he threw it for strikes. When he struck out Placido Polanco in the first inning, it was on a curve that wasn’t where he wanted it.

But Hughes made the adjustment between innings, a skill that eluded him last season.

“He was getting quick with his lower half and I said something to him,” pitching coach Dave Eiland said. “He made the adjustment whereas last year he had something else in his head. He’s much more focused and confident now.”

For me, it was the best Hughes has looked since May 1, 2007 in Texas. He no-hit the Rangers for 6.1 innings that night and struck out six. But he also tore his hamstring. It wasn’t until late last summer in Scranton that the real Hughes started to emerge again after two fruitless seasons.

If you go back to Scranton’s postseason last September and add in the Arizona Fall League, spring training and his first three starts in Scranton this season, Hughes was 7-0 with a 2.17 ERA over 16 starts.

Over 74.2 innings, his line was 51 hits, 18 earned runs, 27 walks and 77 strikeouts. He was heading back to the majors like a speeding car. What he did tonight was confirmation.

I asked him how long ago that game against Texas seemed.

“Ages,” Hughes said. “Ages and not a lot of wins later. Anytime you can talk about a stretch of two years almost and you’ve got a couple wins to show for it between that time, it seems like a long time ago. There were points last year where, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty lost. I felt like I had forgotten how to pitch and things weren’t falling into place for me. I just tried to keep working as hard as I could.”

Chien-Ming Wang is going to be out for a while. Hughes has his chance and if he runs with it, he’ll never see Scranton again. You can’t forget that he doesn’t turn 23 until June. Those last two years weren’t a sign of anything more than inexperience and injury.

“I think he has something to prove,” Eiland said. “That’s a good thing. He can build on this, but it’s only one game. Let’s see him do it again and again and again. He was tremendous tonight. But I’ve seen him do that before and it doesn’t surprise me. That’s how good he can be.”

Here is Hughes talking after the game:

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Thanks to everybody for reading tonight and I hope you enjoyed the game. I think a few months from now, we’re all going to look back on tonight as a very important night for this team.

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100 Responses to “Guess who’s back? It’s Phil Hughes”

  1. CENTRAL CT YANKEE April 29th, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Welcome Home Phil….Stay Healthy Please

  2. G. Love April 29th, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Anyone else think Hughes’ performance tonight (he was really awesome) is going to wake Mr. Joba up?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the radar guns light up his next start and we see the old slider again.

    As for Wang, he has to learn how to pitch again. I think if Hughes can pitch well in his absence there will be nor rush to bring Wang up.

    Really loved what we saw out of Hughes tonight. I liked him in the post game too. Had a nice presence about him.

  3. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 29th, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Yes, no doubt about it this was an impressive performance by Hughes…

    They asked him to be the stopper in his season debut and against a tough Tigers lineup, and he delivered…

    “Phil Franchise”…perhaps he’ll live up to that monicker yet…

    Go Yanks!

  4. Jordan April 29th, 2009 at 12:37 am

    i can’t stop smiling.
    i’ve been rooting for phil franchise since he first came up, and like Pete, I’ve never really lost confidence in him, as i saw that he had the abilities, and seemed to have the attitude, to succeed.
    he may have gotten lost for a bit, but he looks like he’s back.

    the fact that he pitched 6 scoreless today while deryl cousins over and over again jipped him on close pitches is a testament to his confidence. he didn’t let the calls get to his head, and did his thing.
    heres to phil franchise!

  5. haroon April 29th, 2009 at 12:37 am

    this was an important game.
    Hughes pitched great, so did the bullpen.
    the umpire didn’t help.

    i was kind of concerned when Posada came to the plate and got 2 quick strikes, but he started the whole thing. all he had to do was make contact and he did.

  6. Wang IS Taiwan April 29th, 2009 at 12:39 am

    I’m so happy for Phil. Great character in that kid. And yes, I hope it lights a fire under Joba. A little competition never hurt anyone — especially the best talents.

  7. Harry G April 29th, 2009 at 12:40 am

    “I think a few months from now, we’re all going to look back on tonight as a very important night for this team.”

    Hope you’re right my man.

    Peter, if Hughes continues to pitch great, and Wang is ready to come back, what will the Yanks do?
    Because the cries for Joba to go back to his “original role” will onlt intensify if Hughes looks great and the pen doesn’t right it.

    While it’s a nice problem to have, I sure hope the Yanks never, ever considerr retuning Joba to the pen, under any circumstances.

  8. Harry G April 29th, 2009 at 12:40 am

    “I think a few months from now, we’re all going to look back on tonight as a very important night for this team.”

    Hope you’re right my man.

    Peter, if Hughes continues to pitch great, and Wang is ready to come back, what will the Yanks do?
    Because the cries for Joba to go back to his “original role” will onlt intensify if Hughes looks great and the pen doesn’t right it.

    While it’s a nice problem to have, I sure hope the Yanks never, ever considerr retuning Joba to the pen, under any circumstances.

  9. Chris April 29th, 2009 at 12:42 am

    Phil did great, and we can expect great things out of him. However, if he has two tough outings, the same people that are rooting for him now, will be begging to have him traded to get Josh Beckett. I can see it happening already, yet again!

  10. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 29th, 2009 at 12:43 am

    G. Love,

    I’m beginning to wonder if Joba will ever throw like he used too…

    Don’t know why the velocity is so off…what theories do you have?

  11. John April 29th, 2009 at 12:48 am

    Uh-oh. What’s that heart? Your Phil Hughes man crush is back? Awesome.

  12. Al from BK( Mark Sanchez=NFL ROTY) April 29th, 2009 at 12:50 am

    Isn’t this what all of us Yankee fans wanted Hughes and Joba back to back in the rotation? :)

  13. Chris April 29th, 2009 at 12:52 am

    It really is a great feeling to have Phil Hughes and Joba back to back in the rotation. I get excited to see these guys through. They both have nasty stuff, and are fun to watch and develop. You know that with every pitch they are learning and will only get better the next time out (hopefully).

    I just hope things work out for those two young men, and having Wang in there too, would be insane.

    If and when this team gets going, they are fun to watch for the home fans, and agonizing for the opposing side.

  14. G. Love April 29th, 2009 at 12:56 am

    I think Joba is intentionally holding back hoping it makes him a more effective and durable starting pitcher.

    I think that’s all it is. If there was any kind of real shoulder issue the team wouldn’t have let him come to camp as a starter.

    I just think he’s hearing he needs to pace himself to be a starter, but I also think he’s holding back a bit too much as he’s figuring the whole thing out.

    The 7 inning 10K performances are going to come from him and when they do, watch out.

    Seeing Hughes come up and pitch this way should definitely give him a little kick in the pants since he doesn’t even want to be moved from the rotation when/if Wang returns.

    Hughes coming up big tonight is a great thing for this team.

  15. Joe Mama April 29th, 2009 at 12:57 am

    It was great to see Hughes go out there and pitch with some confidence. He battled and worked his way back to the majors. You could see the confidence when Hughes just dealt with the shrinking strike zone by throwing his pitches. I just hope he can stay healthy.
    Hughes looks like he bulked up a little, looks more like a man and less like a boy.

  16. Dr. Cox April 29th, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Man if only Wang could turn it around this rotation would be unstoppable.

    Contingent on the O, of course,

  17. pat April 29th, 2009 at 1:01 am

    G Love

    I think it could re-focus Joba.

    It’s one thing to try and compete with some of the more experienced guys in the rotation but competing with someone he came through the system with could be a good thing.

  18. Jeremy April 29th, 2009 at 1:01 am

    I’m seeing some heart from this team this year that I haven’t seen in more than a few years.

    Francesca and Colin Cowherd can say whatever they want.
    It’s only April, and this team has something to prove. Just ask Robinson Cano, and Angel Berroa.

  19. Nick in SF April 29th, 2009 at 1:06 am

    People keep asking, what happens if Hughes keeps pitching like this and Wang comes back healthy?

    The Yankees win the AL East, that’s what.

  20. Dr. Cox April 29th, 2009 at 1:07 am

    “While it’s a nice problem to have, I sure hope the Yanks never, ever considerr retuning Joba to the pen, under any circumstances”

    If Hughes continues to pitch the way he did tonight and Wang comes back from the dead to his old form, you can be SURE Joba will be put back into the pen. They arent going to have a 6 man rotation.

    And a CC, Burnett, Wang (if decent), Pettite, Hughes rotation with Bruney (when healthy), Melancon, Joba and MO in the pen, coupled with A-rod back into the line-up and a heated up Matsui…not to mention an over-achieving Captain and one of the best hitters in the league right now with Cano!!

    Say what you will about age and whatever, that is a team RIGHT THERE AND NOW that is absolutely capable of winning the pennant.

  21. Nick in SF April 29th, 2009 at 1:09 am

    You’re ignoring your oath, Dr. Cox: first, do no harm.

  22. MattNC April 29th, 2009 at 1:11 am

    Hughes had so much more poise tonight. His pitches were moving all over, his change up was better, and he threw some excellent curveballs.

    BTW, anyone else have Bobby Murcer flashbacks when they see Nick Swisher swing from the left side? Swisher has a “yanking” type of swing that resembles Murcer’s.

  23. Dr. Cox April 29th, 2009 at 1:14 am

    Understandable haha.

    But c’mon…Little Philly’s huge start tonight didn’t put a twinkle in anyone else’s eye??

    If he can continue to throw like that, what I mentioned above is a recipe for Chicken Soup for World Series Soul.

  24. Bo knows April 29th, 2009 at 1:14 am

    I’ve always been in Cashman’s corner, especially when he got on his hind legs with Steino. But his biggest sin was rushing Hughes to Texas. It was early in the year, Hughes hadn’t built up strength, etc. It took him two years to come back. He did learn some pitches along the way – he’s more mature but he should have been up after the All Star break that year, improving last year and the Yankees wouldn’t have needed AJ last winter. That my gripe with Cashman. The rest – he’s dealing with NY, an impossible task.

  25. Nick in SF April 29th, 2009 at 1:18 am

    Dr., I believe we’ve seen a glimpse of Yankee Christmas future. Tomorrow night we’ll see another glimpse. How much of it is also Yankee Christmas present remains to be seen. Phil and Joba can be rotation mainstays for years to come. Not to be monkeyed with!

  26. V April 29th, 2009 at 1:18 am

    “G. Love,

    I’m beginning to wonder if Joba will ever throw like he used too…

    Don’t know why the velocity is so off…what theories do you have?”

    My theory – he’s not in tip-top game shape yet. I’d buy the ‘he’s holding back’ theory if he had touched 98-99 at least ONCE so far this season (he’s topped out at 95-96).

    When he dominated the Sox last year, he was sitting 96-98. That’s not needed, with his arsenal. 92-94 would be sufficient. But an average of 92 is somewhat worrisome.

    But, it’s April – some guys aren’t in peak form until June. If he can maintain a sub-4 ERA, I’m fine, in the meantime.

  27. V April 29th, 2009 at 1:20 am

    “Say what you will about age and whatever, that is a team RIGHT THERE AND NOW that is absolutely capable of winning the pennant.”

    :rolls eyes:

    Who’s worth more to the Sox: Papelbon, or Beckett?

  28. no.27 April 29th, 2009 at 1:20 am

    Hughes was awesome and I hope he can have strong outings from now until when Wang is ready to get back in the rotation.

    It would force the Yankees to make a tough decision with Joba, but I hope they don’t put him in the bullpen. As bad as Joba has been as a starter, he’s got an ERA under 3 in 15 starts and he’s still trying to figure out the major leagues. If they just stick with their plan Joba and Hughes will both be ready to pitch 180 innings in 2010. That’s more important than the difference Joba could make in the bullpen for this year.

  29. Chris April 29th, 2009 at 1:23 am

    I believe A-Rod’s injury, and his extended absence, will give him a break from the fans because we were in so many clutch situations that featured hitters hitting around the Mendoza line. I think fans, including myself, will appreciate him more. There is no doubt about it, that if he were here, we would have won a couple games. The guy has the ability to have 5 RBI games, and that in itself will can change the game to go from the Yankees losing, to the Yankees winning, and not even having a close situation being presented.

  30. PFJ April 29th, 2009 at 1:26 am

    “Anyone else think Hughes’ performance tonight (he was really awesome) is going to wake Mr. Joba up?
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the radar guns light up his next start and we see the old slider again.”

    I am pretty confident that the issue with Joba so far has not been a lack of motivation. It’s mechanical, or mental, or god forbid an injury. He’s not going to be motivated into being better.

  31. Al from BK( Mark Sanchez=NFL ROTY) April 29th, 2009 at 1:27 am

    I would hate to do it but if Wang comes back throwing that heavy sinker and going 7-8 innings every game and Joba continues to look mediocre he should move to the pen. Rotation- CC, Wang, Burnett, Pettitte, Hughes. Pen- Bruney, Melancon, Joba, Mo. WOW!

  32. Giuseppe Franco April 29th, 2009 at 1:27 am

    If Hughes continues to pitch the way he did tonight and Wang comes back from the dead to his old form, you can be SURE Joba will be put back into the pen. They arent going to have a 6 man rotation.

    ————

    If Wang is pitching like Wang in another month, Hughes goes back to Scranton and gets the first call-up when someone else goes down.

    They aren’t going to make a moronic long term decision based on the short term problem of having too many good starters.

  33. Nick in SF April 29th, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Al, so you’d flush Joba’s development as a starter? I’d hate for you to do that too.

  34. Al from BK( Mark Sanchez=NFL ROTY) April 29th, 2009 at 1:31 am

    It is very obvious to me that Joba is holding back. 91-94 mph fastball, lazy curve and change, very limited slider. Joba when he is on is 94-97 mph, 87 mph filthy slider, and well located curve.

  35. Dr. Cox April 29th, 2009 at 1:33 am

    :rolls eyes:
    Who’s worth more to the Sox: Papelbon, or Beckett

    :punches you in your rolling eyes:

    What does that have to do with anything right now? How else are we going to fit Joba in? He has already been an established part of the bullpen.

    If we have CC, AJ, Wang, Hughes, and Pettite, should we stick one of THEM in the BP so Joba can start? Absolutely not.

    This isn’t part of the Joba: Starter vs. Reliever argument…these are the straight realities of the situation. I see your point in leaving Joba in the rotation now, but not if there is someone else capable of getting it done as well.

    And remember…this is most likely Pettites last year in pinstripes or even in baseball for that matter. So obviously Joba would be starting next year. But if the rotation I have mentioned above, depending on Wangs durability…then you better your as$ Joba needs to be in that Pen.

  36. Al from BK( Mark Sanchez=NFL ROTY) April 29th, 2009 at 1:36 am

    Well the main issue with this team right now is not the pen, it is hitting with RISP! I am not a Francessa clone rooting for Jobber to the pen. However it is very obvious that Joba was more intimidating and generally more effective coming out of the pen.

  37. John April 29th, 2009 at 1:37 am

    “It would force the Yankees to make a tough decision with Joba, but I hope they don’t put him in the bullpen. As bad as Joba has been as a starter, he’s got an ERA under 3 in 15 starts and he’s still trying to figure out the major leagues.”

    That’s bad? I think your standards might be a little high. No, he hasn’t been as dominant this year, but he’s got a sub-4 ERA and it’s his first full year starting in MLB. Give the kid a chance.

    I’m as excited as anybody else about tonight’s start, but before we start putting Joba back in the bullpen (a terrible idea – you don’t waste a guy with 4 + or ++ pitches in the bullpen unless they have injury problems) let’s wait to see how Hughes pitches the next time out, how Melancon pitches outside of 2! MLB appearances, and how Wang bounces back (not looking good). Everything is speculative and fluid so don’t start daydreaming yet – we’re still only in April and who knows how these guys will look over the course of the season.

  38. PFJ April 29th, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Cox, if Joba spends the majority of this year in the bullpen, then next year he is still on a 150 IP limit. Personally, I think the “problem” will work itself out, but I’d probably send Hughes to SWB unless he has been absurdly good or move Wang to the pen before moving Joba there. I don’t want to waste another year of him.

  39. Nick in SF April 29th, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Al: was it also very obvious to you that Jorge was dogging it up the line until you found out about his sore hammy? Maybe something that seems very obvious to you isn’t so obvious.

    Dr. Cox: if you’re advocating putting Joba back into the bullpen, which you are, I think that qualifies as part of the Joba: Starter vs. Reliever argument. You’re also advocating furthering Joba’s development as a starter by… putting him back into the bullpen. Come on, the world isn’t ending this year, we have *at least* until 2012, don’t we?

  40. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 29th, 2009 at 1:41 am

    “Rotation- CC, Wang, Burnett, Pettitte, Hughes. Pen- Bruney, Melancon, Joba, Mo. WOW!”

    Al, I’d have to agree with you there…a pen with Bruney, Melancon, Joba and Mo would be perhaps one of the best pens ever assembled, or at least it would have that kind of potential…

    But only if it’s the old Joba who goes back to the pen…the one who can dial it up to 97-98…

    Hopefully we’ll see some of that tomorrow…

  41. Buddy Biancalana April 29th, 2009 at 1:43 am

    Kepner sides with Dr Cox. I’m starting to be swayed too.

    http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/.....ing-power/

  42. Nick in SF April 29th, 2009 at 1:48 am

    How good would the assembled pen be if it was Bruney, Melancon, CC, and Mo? Or Melancon, CC, AJ, and Mo? If CC and AJ are so good, wouldn’t you want them affecting 80 games each instead of 30?

  43. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 29th, 2009 at 1:49 am

    It isn’t that Joba has been bad in the role of starter–he hasn’t…he has actually been quite good especially when you consider that he’s really just beginning in that role…

    It’s just that he was unreal in the pen…unreal…

    When you already have depth in your starting pitching as the Yanks clearly could have, even without Joba as a starter, then fortifying your pen makes sense…

    Joba as a starter will be called upon once every 5 days…

    Your bullpen might be called upon every night…

    But whatever the case, with the addition of Melancon to the pen and Hughes to the starting rotation it appears that the Yankees will have depth regardless of what move is ultimately made regarding Joba…

    Go Yanks!

  44. Nick in SF April 29th, 2009 at 1:51 am

    CC as a starter will be called upon every 5 days…

    Your bullpen might be called upon every night…

  45. Dr. Cox April 29th, 2009 at 1:55 am

    Nick and PFJ:

    The reason I don’t see it as part of that argument if because of the over abundance of starting pitching we have right now. But I could be wrong.

    let me clarify. I think Joba needs to be a starter. He is too damn good to be used for 1 or 2 innings every other game or so. However, Hughes didnt just have a lucky start tonight. He all but shut down arguably one of the best line ups in the American League. Did he get lucky on some calls? Absolutely. But his velocity was up, his cutter was cutting that he exhumed confidence that I have never seen before in him. Bottom line: Its’s my belief that he is here to stay in this rotation.

    NOW, here comes the tricky part. What happens if Wang comes back and is his old self again? How can one justify sending Hughes back to SWB if he has proven that he is MLB ready? At the same time, the only time he has pitched out of the pen was the Tribe series back in 07, and that was a long-reliever position.

    The only other option, from the way I see it, is putting Joba back in the Pen for 09. You have to believe me when I say that I hate to say that. I was Joba in my rotation. But as said before, you cant have 6 guys in a rotation.

    But as you know, this could all be a moot point. Wang could come back and still be awful. If thats the case, I would still go to war with a CC, AJ, Hughes, Pettie, Joba rotation. I absolutely trust this Melancon kid to get the ball to Mo.

    When it’s all said and done…things are actually looking good. And on that note, I’m off to bed.

  46. Zach in Port Jeff April 29th, 2009 at 1:56 am

    At the end of the day, baseball is just a game, but its stories like tonight that have kept me hooked since my pop first brought me to a baseball game at the age of 6.

    Most of the posters on this blog are die-hard fans. Although we root for anyone who happens to wear the pinstripes, we hold a special place in our hearts for the kids that come through our own system.

    Two years ago, we were able to see a tiny glimpse of what Phil Hughes is capable of. He’s had a rough time and some bad breaks since, but watching his performance tonight brought a huuuuuge smile to my face…not just because he helped the Yankees win, but knowing the adversity he’s had to endure in order to get back to where he’s at now.

    I’m so happy that he took a major step in the right direction today.

    Jeez, its probably a good think I dont have any kids of my own (yet), because I’ll be the type of dad that gushes over every little success he/she has.

  47. Dr. Cox April 29th, 2009 at 1:57 am

    sorry for all the typos, the half a bottle of Nyquil has caught up to me.

  48. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 29th, 2009 at 1:57 am

    Nick in SF said:

    “How good would the assembled pen be if it was Bruney, Melancon, CC, and Mo? Or Melancon, CC, AJ, and Mo? If CC and AJ are so good, wouldn’t you want them affecting 80 games each instead of 30?”

    Nick,

    Good points, but imagine that we have a surfeit of starting pitching, then it would make sense to put some or at least one of those arms in the pen…

    CC, AJ, Wang et al have established themselves as starters, Joba has yet to do that–through no fault of his own of course–he just hasn’t been given the opportunity yet..

    But he has established himself as a dominant force in late inning relief–that is beyond dispute…

    I think he’d do better in that role than CC, AJ, Wang or Hughes…don’t you?

    Why not strengthen your weakest link if you have the luxury?

  49. Ed - Swisher is awesome!! April 29th, 2009 at 1:58 am

    I hope Hughes repeats tonight’s start against the Angels on Sunday. I doubt Girardi would push him to start the Red Sox series.

  50. Nick in SF April 29th, 2009 at 2:00 am

    Nyquil + swine flu = Joba in the bullpen

  51. no.27 April 29th, 2009 at 2:02 am

    “As bad as Joba has been as a starter, he’s got an ERA under 3 in 15 starts and he’s still trying to figure out the major leagues.”

    I was being sarcastic when I said “as bad as he has been”. If anyone thinks an ERA below 3 in a 22/23 year old’s first 15 starts isn’t good enough, they don’t know what the hell they are talking about.

    Joba is not mediocre as a starter. All he needs to do is work on pitching deeper into games and give the Yankees a chance to win.

  52. Al from BK( Mark Sanchez=NFL ROTY) April 29th, 2009 at 2:05 am

    “Al: was it also very obvious to you that Jorge was dogging it up the line until you found out about his sore hammy? Maybe something that seems very obvious to you isn’t so obvious.”

    Nick- I never called Posada out on running to first. I apologized earlier today on behalf of those who wouldn’t. I love Jorge, got it! :)

  53. stuart April 29th, 2009 at 2:06 am

    a few observations.. fat boy on the radio was talking about how great the sux prospects and how the yanks have nothing…heyman knows no more then him,, they were having a good old agreefest.

    ramiro Pena can filed big time. I keep him up as the utility guy, play him 3 games a week or 2 between 2b, ss, and 3b his glove is stupendous.

    Hughes looked like Texas 2 yrs ago. I wonder if fat boy and others consider him a prospect after all hughes is 22!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Melancon, 3 innings and zilch. a lot of strikes, I wonder if fat boy realizes he is like 23 also???????????????????

  54. Giuseppe Franco April 29th, 2009 at 2:06 am

    Having too many viable starters is a great problem to have because oftentimes it doesn’t last long.

    Just a few weeks back, the Yanks had too many outfielders. How things have changed in such a short time.

    Nady went down. Matsui’s knees are still aching and Damon ran into a wall and has a shoulder issue. Gardner hasn’t played well and Melky will return to being Melky soon enough.

    Now, they don’t have enough outfielders.

    Just a few weeks ago, the Yanks had too many good arms in the bullpen to keep them all on the big club so guys like Melancon and Robertson were sent back to Scranton.

    But Bruney went down and a few others were overworked and ineffective which resulted in Robertson and Melancon getting called up sooner than we expected.

    See a pattern here?

    If Wang comes back and pitches like Wang, Hughes goes back to Scranton and Joba remains exactly where he is right now.

    It might not take long for Hughes to get another call-up because anyone in that rotation could go down at anytime.

    But if you make a stupid long term decision based on a short term problem – you create more long term issues because you’ve now sent your best young arm back to the bullpen and an injury to someone else in the rotation will summon a guy like Ian Kennedy or Aceves to be your fifth starter.

    Don’t be stupid. Strong rotation depth is a great thing to have during the season. Don’t screw it up by moving pieces all over the place and sacrificing that depth.

  55. Nick in SF April 29th, 2009 at 2:08 am

    No, Dynasty, I do not agree.

    I do not imagine that we have a surplus of starting pitching because we don’t. We might in some future fantasy time. We don’t now. Nor do I assume that we will next season or the season after that, which is why Joba needs to continue developing as a starter now, as is the plan.

    And that whole thing about Joba being some unique late-inning force being ‘beyond dispute’ is more rubbish.

  56. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 29th, 2009 at 2:10 am

    “And that whole thing about Joba being some unique late-inning force being ‘beyond dispute’ is more rubbish.”

    Fine…then go ahead and dispute it. Make a cogent argument to the contrary…

    Good luck!

  57. Al from BK( Mark Sanchez=NFL ROTY) April 29th, 2009 at 2:13 am

    Girardi having an option to bring in Joba or Melancon or Bruney before even thinking about bringing in Mo is what even makes me consider that option. What would opposing teams do? 4 guys who can throw fire and who have bulldog attitudes it just seems really attractive to me. Especially if Joba is only throwing 5 innings per start with mediocre stuff I think anyone can do that especially Phil.

  58. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 29th, 2009 at 2:16 am

    Al from BK,

    Couldn’t agree more…

    That would be a nast pen…it’d be interesting to take a poll of MLB managers to see how many of them would like their chances against that kind of bullpen…

  59. Nick in SF April 29th, 2009 at 2:16 am

    OK.

    Mark Melancon has a better record as a reliever than Joba.

    Therefore, Joba is not a unique late-inning force even on this team within recent history.

  60. no.27 April 29th, 2009 at 2:18 am

    “ramiro Pena can filed big time. I keep him up as the utility guy, play him 3 games a week or 2 between 2b, ss, and 3b his glove is stupendous.”

    Ramiro Pena will not play 2 or 3 games a week. Benching Rodriguez Jeter, and Cano once a week for a guy that has 4 singles and no other hits in his entire career?

    Are you a Red Sox fan?

  61. Al from BK( Mark Sanchez=NFL ROTY) April 29th, 2009 at 2:24 am

    Okay guys, enough Joba/pen talk.

    When does A-Rod return?

    My answer- Next Monday against the Sox!

  62. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 29th, 2009 at 2:26 am

    “Mark Melancon has a better record as a reliever than Joba.”

    Yes, all 3 innings of it…

    That was funny.

    Speaking of Melancon though, seriously what’s your impression of this guy?

    To me it looks like he’s got some intestinal fortitude…of course it’s only been 3 innings

  63. no.27 April 29th, 2009 at 2:27 am

    2009 season:
    Pitcher A-
    32.1 IP | 29 Ks | .99 WHIP | 1.95 ERA
    Pitcher B-
    35 IP | 44 Ks | 1.17 WHIP | 2.31 ERA

  64. no.27 April 29th, 2009 at 2:28 am

    That’s supposed to say 2008 Season

  65. igotid88 April 29th, 2009 at 2:36 am

    Al from BK( Mark Sanchez=NFL ROTY) April 29th, 2009 at 2:24 am

    Okay guys, enough Joba/pen talk.

    When does A-Rod return?

    My answer- Next Monday against the Sox!
    _____________________________________________________
    I hope this Sunday. I wanna see his first homer. And I get to see Phil Hughes pitch.

  66. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 29th, 2009 at 2:40 am

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think we’ll see him against the Sox–too much pressure for his first game back…

    My guess would be against Tampa…

  67. Nick in SF April 29th, 2009 at 2:45 am

    I know a right-handed Yankee starting pitcher who handled the pressure of facing the Red Sox pretty well. I guess he’s too young to know better.

  68. Al from BK( Mark Sanchez=NFL ROTY) April 29th, 2009 at 2:55 am

    Dynasty- We really need A-Rod back against the Sox especially following that 3 game sweep. I think he gets in a few games this week, rakes and forces his way back for the Sox series.

  69. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 29th, 2009 at 2:58 am

    Al,

    Yes you’re right, we sure could use him, but I wonder if that’s what they’ll do…

  70. RockinDaBronx April 29th, 2009 at 3:11 am

    I love seeing home grown talent perform, great job by the stopper Phil today.

  71. Boston Dave April 29th, 2009 at 3:19 am

    “If Wang is pitching like Wang in another month, Hughes goes back to Scranton and gets the first call-up when someone else goes down.”

    ———–

    If Hughes doesn’t give up a run and only a hit every 3 innings, it might be different. But Phil is going to have some hiccups along the way. He set the bar very high tonight and that’s great – but there is nothing wrong with sending him back to AAA as a 22 yr old if Wang comes back.

    People applaud the Sox as a franchise. Well, they sent Buchholz down to refine his game as well (of course Brad Penny is going to make it harder to keep him there).

    If they do send Phil back down, it’s important not to see it as a knock on him, but as part of his continued development.

  72. GZA April 29th, 2009 at 3:58 am

    I knew we were gonna win tonight as soon as I saw that AOBG wasn’t in the lineup.

  73. GZA April 29th, 2009 at 4:08 am

    Giuseppe Franco: “Melky will return to being Melky soon enough.

    “Now, they don’t have enough outfielders.”

    What are you TALKING about. Kid’s 24 years old and is finally starting to realize his potential. Mark my words, he’s gonna be a solid CF for this team for years to come.

    Your boy Gardner is at best a four-A player. He can barely lift a ball out of a major-league infield.

  74. Boston Dave April 29th, 2009 at 4:45 am

    “he’s gonna be a solid CF for this team for years to come.

    Your boy Gardner is at best a four-A player. He can barely lift a ball out of a major-league infield.”

    ——-

    we all hope Melky plays great. His improved play lately has earned him more playing time. Go figure…

    but Gardner still won the spot in spring training and should get more time to show he can improve as well.

    Melky got chances. Gardner should get chances. In the end, the better player will get more PT.

    It’s fairly hypocritical and ignorant to say “Melky just needed a bunch of chances to improve” followed by “Gardner stinks and should only get 2 weeks to show what he has”.

  75. sevrox April 29th, 2009 at 4:50 am

    Joba’s already in the pen in the guise of Mark Melancon.

    This place is hilarious – folks ready to slit wrists are now singing ‘All Hail The Mighty Yankees’! And it only took one victory to snap that 4-game losing streak.

    Freakin’ ponderous.

  76. Boston Dave April 29th, 2009 at 4:53 am

    sevrox,

    such is the Lohud Yankee blog… buckle up

  77. Harold April 29th, 2009 at 5:44 am

    Leave joba alone. Doesn’t the fact that he doesn’t have his old velocity, is still transistioning to be a major league starter,hasn’t had great control yet, but has a sub 4 ERA encouraging to anyone? You have to let him develop and try to figure it out as a starter. It doesn’t happen overnight. Just because Hughes had a great start tonight and Wang potentially could regain his old form doesn’t mean we have too much rotation depth. If the Yankees are commuted to giving joba a real shot as a starter, then tossing him in the ‘pen is the last thing they should do, for their sake and his own sake

  78. Paco Dooley April 29th, 2009 at 6:24 am

    It’s also time to start talking about the return of the great Robbie Cano. He had 16 hits last April and just got his 32nd hit of this April with a couple of games to play. Let’s hope that he keeps his head focused and we have a second baseman that will challenge for the batting title for years to come (as he did just a couple of years ago).

  79. carl April 29th, 2009 at 6:37 am

    Joba needs to step it up.

  80. Shea April 29th, 2009 at 7:01 am

    Anyone have any idea on what happens if Hughes continues to pitch well, and Wang returns? Alternating Joba and Hughes maybe?

  81. Yankee U April 29th, 2009 at 7:37 am

    It seem like only a few short weeks ago when a lot of the people on here were saying we should trade Cano and Hughes for whatever we can get. Cano so far seems to have reverted to the Robby of 2 years ago. I know that 1 game does not make a season but when you consider that Hughes is still only 22, the upside looks tremendous.

  82. Whatever April 29th, 2009 at 7:53 am

    There’s no discussion whatsoever about what’s the best move for 2009 if Wang comes back as a solid starter and Hughes proves he belongs in a MLB rotation this year. That would give us one of the best rotations in baseball and an extra starter paired up with one of the weakest bullpens in the league. And it just so happens that the extra starter, in that scenario, is a natural fit in the bullpen.

    But, of course, some of us must be so stubborn that they won’t budge. Send Hughes down, comparing it with Bucholz and the RS’ superior player development? At least that one is creative. OK, if our bullpen is just fine without Joba and we keep seeing few K’s and a WHIP of 1.8+, how about sending Joba down? Hughes has already thrown a better game than we’ve seen from Joba in ST or in three starts this year. He’s looking like a guy who has suffered and worked his way back, as opposed to Joba, who has been built into a legend, partied his rear off all off-season and didn’t show up ready to perform this year. And I loved how satisfied he was with his 2 K, 5 BB, bailed-out-by-the-DP’s outing in Fenway Friday. You care so deeply about his development and can’t bear to see him in the pen, you just might be arguing why he deserves to stay in the bigs in a month if he doesn’t get his act together.

  83. talltenor April 29th, 2009 at 8:08 am

    From where I was sitting last night, behind the Tigers’ dugout on the 3rd base side, I couldn’t tell that Hughes’ curve was “on.” When I got back to my hotel & saw on ESPN that it had been, AND saw that he’d been using a cutter a lot (à la Mo), my eyes were opened in a big way.

    Joba to the pen? I’ve been against that, but maybe…

  84. Daniel April 29th, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Since we are so eager to send Joba to the Pen, what about sending Phil Hughes to the pen? It leaves him up here and he doesnt have to be sent down.

  85. Lauren April 29th, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Congratulations to Phil!! This was a long time coming, and I couldn’t be happier for him. YAY!!! :)

  86. SJ44 April 29th, 2009 at 8:28 am

    Guiseppe,

    I respectfully disagree. If Hughes keeps pitching like this, and Wang is able to come back (two big “IF’s”, BTW), there is no way Hughes is going back to Scranton. He will be in the rotation and they will move Joba to the bullpen.

    A rotation of CC, AJ, Pettitte, Wang and Hughes, with a bullpen of, Joba, Bruney, Melancon, Rivera, pick a remaining righty, Coke and Marte is how it will shake out.

    It also makes this team MUCH better. With the pressure of winning, coupled with the pressure of filling seats, I could see things shaking out this way if the issues I stated above shake out a certain way.

    Everyone with the Yankees will deny it publicly over and over in the next 6 weeks.

    However, mark my words, if Hughes is throwing great, Wang is back, and everyone else is healthy, Joba will be back in the bullpen by June.

  87. 86w183 April 29th, 2009 at 8:33 am

    I think many are guilty of premature speculation regarding Hughes, Joba, Wang et al. Wang probably won’t be back in the majors for close to a month. By then all the other starts will have had ample opportunity to show their stuff.

    The only thing I’m certain of is that the best case scenario will be having to decide between Joba back to the pen or Phil back to Scranton. However that will only be the case if all starters are healthy and effective.

    Alex will return in the May 1-7 home stand. No way he debuts on the road. Wednesday, May 6th against the Rays is my pick.

  88. SJ44 April 29th, 2009 at 8:36 am

    One last point….

    Joba can end any discussion about him going to the bullpen by pitching up to his capabilities.

    He’s not a 90-91 MPH, try to get them to make contact, pitcher.

    He seems real tentative so far this year. Is he worried about his shoulder or pitch count? I don’t know.

    I do know Joba became Joba because he threw 95-98, sustained velocity, attacked hitters, and got a lot of swings and misses.

    So far this year, none of that has been on display.

    If he can only do that coming out of the ‘pen, that’s where he is going to end up.

    I know he can sustain it as a starter. I’ve seen it.

    He just has to let it fly, starting with this start.

    He’s a better pitcher than he has shown so far this year.

    Hopefully, the Hughes start is the kick he needs to amp it up.

    He can’t change his pitching style, regardless of his role on the team.

  89. SJ44 April 29th, 2009 at 8:41 am

    86,

    I completely agree. You know what they say about the best laid plans….

    Out of all the various scenarios, the one not a “given” in my mind is the return of Wang.

    He can’t throw a quality major league inning right now. To “rebuild” him is going to take time unless they get real lucky and something just clicks with him and he is back.

    My gut tells me we don’t see an effective Wang all season. Making the Joba and Hughes debates moot.

    But, if he somehow finds his way and can get it back, and everyone else is healthy and productive, that’s when it will be decision time for the Yankees on a couple of fronts.

    It would be nice if everything worked out positively for a change. For once, I’d love to see the Yankees have to make decisions from a position of strength rather than weakness.

  90. 86w183 April 29th, 2009 at 8:47 am

    I’m with SJ, Joba’s performances will do more to determine his destiny than anything else. He only had two swings and misses in his last start and that’s disconcerting.

    If Joba and Hughes are making quality starts and Wang gets back to form it would be something to see. But if/when that happens who’s to say that the other three guys will all be healthy?

    Could Wang for Kemp or Ethier be in our future?

  91. Glenn April 29th, 2009 at 8:54 am

    What we saw in Hughes and Melancon was 2 pitchers fully focused on the strike zone. That’s called maturity. Phil Hughes looked like a composed, confident, unrattled pitcher on the mound with a full idea of what he wants to do. Let’s see him carry it into his next start which should be Sunday vs. the Angels.

  92. Rose April 29th, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Hughes pitched a great game.

    When Joba comes in from the bullpen his demeanor is different. He comes in fired up and blows hitters away. He is practically untouchable. People see him as the next closer. As a starter he has to hold back and control his emotions.

    As far as Melky, don’t get carried away. He is a 4th outfielder. He is not a disiplined hitter. He swings too wildly. Pitches in the dirt and over his head.

    Arod cannot be rushed back just so he can face the Sox.

    I like the job Singleton and Cone do working together. Coney is very insightful and Ken is a good play by play man. More of the and less of the other groups.

  93. Tim Sherman April 29th, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Congratulations to Phil Hughes. I was rooting for him though I had my doubts that he was ready. He proved me wrong and I am very happy that he did. Great job at a time when the Yankees really needed it. Hopefully many more starts like this one in his future.

  94. Bean Youkilis April 29th, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Don’t know why the velocity is so off…what theories do you have?

    Are you guys retarded? Remember that significant shoulder injury he had last season? Joba didn’t throw like this as a starter before the season. His velocity problems have nothing to do with being in the pen or in the rotation. Before the injury he was throwing 97-99 as a reliever and sitting around 95 as a starter. Now he occasionally touches 94 and sits in the low 90s. Obviously, something is wrong and it’s not “intnetionally holding back.”

  95. Bean Youkilis April 29th, 2009 at 9:26 am

    “When Joba comes in from the bullpen his demeanor is different. He comes in fired up and blows hitters away. He is practically untouchable. People see him as the next closer. As a starter he has to hold back and control his emotions.”

    You’re an absolute dipwad. Remember, he was absolutely mowing people down as a starter last year before the injury. Stop triyng to be an amateur freud.

  96. Patrick April 29th, 2009 at 9:31 am

    “Obviously, something is wrong and it’s not “intnetionally holding back.” ”

    Isn’t it possible that the Yankees told him to not throw as hard because they are afraid his shoulder might flare up again? Or Joba is doing it himself for fear of his shoulder? I hope his velocity is down because he hasn’t built up enough arm strength but I’m not too confident. He needs to show something tonight.

  97. Rose April 29th, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Bean Youkilis

    When you do not agree with someone is it necessary to call them retarded and a dipwad?

    Show some class.

    And if you think there is not a different mindset between a starter and a one inning reliever, think again.

  98. Buck Nasty April 29th, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    who was the last reliever to make 100 million dollars, oh wait there arent any becasue top end starters are a lot harder to find than good bullpen pithcers. Joba may have made his name to the fans out of the pen but he made his name to the organization as a starter and one hell of a starter at that

  99. GZA April 29th, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    “It’s fairly hypocritical and ignorant to say ‘Melky just needed a bunch of chances to improve’ followed by ‘Gardner stinks and should only get 2 weeks to show what he has’.”

    It’s also BS to put words in other people’s mouths. I never said anything of the kind.

    Melky’s already proved he can hit in the majors. And, guess what, he’s hitting now. So to play AOBG – who’s not only unproven, but so far CLEARLY overmatched – over Melky is insane. Whether that’s fair to Gardner is beside the point. The object is to win games, not to coddle bobble-headed speedsters who may or may not be future MVPs.

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