Phil Hughes was bamboozled this morning when he was handed a certificate and folded American flag, both elegantly framed, as an apparent birthday gift from someone Hughes doesn’t know.
“This flag was flown for Phil Hughes in honor of his birthday,” the inscription said.
According to the text, the flag was flown above the U.S. Capitol on June 24, 2008 — Hughes’ 22nd birthday — at the request of Bill Pascrell Jr., the U.S. Congressman from New Jersey’s 8th District. The certificate was signed by Stephen T. Ayers, the acting Architect of the Capitol.
As you might expect, the gift prompted a series of questions from both reporters and teammates, but Hughes had no answers. He seemed happy to have gotten it — some joked that Brian Bruney might have sent it as a memento from D.C. — but Hughes was thoroughly confused as to how and why it came to be in his possession. It’s not especially hard to request a flag be flown over the Capitol, so it might have been a fan that started this ball rolling.
These are the things that happen on slow spring training mornings in the middle of February.
• Although Joe Girardi indicated yesterday that the next starting pitcher to throw a bullpen session would be A.J. Burnett on Monday, Javier Vazquez is listed on the bullpen schedule this morning. Looks like he’s throw to Jorge Posada, in a group that includes Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Edwar Ramirez.
• Just like he said would happen, Andrew Brackman is listed among the pitchers scheduled to throw a bullpen this morning. He skipped yesterday’s bullpen session because of a small cut on his finger.
• No bullpen today for Wilkin De La Rosa. Pitching coach Dave Eiland said De La Rosa is scheduled to throw only two bullpens a week — Tuesdays and Fridays — because he’s coming back from an elbow injury that cost him the last few weeks of last season.