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


Notes from Tuesday

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc, Podcast on Mar 16, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

This might have been the best Phil Hughes has pitched this spring, and his four scoreless innings came after Joe Girardi told the fifth starter candidates that results are starting to matter this spring.

What’s more important — and impressive — is that Hughes got those results while still working on his changeup. He threw a first-pitch changeup for probably the first time in his life, and he threw a 2-1 changeup with runners on base, inducing a groundball.

“I threw some in counts where normally I would never, ever do it,” he said. “And I got good results with it.”

Check out his audio. It’s good to hear a young player talk about the big picture when he’s fighting for a job.

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Astros Yankees Baseball

Cleary, The Associated Press takes better pictures of Mariano Rivera than I do. That’s their work on the right. You’ve all seen my attempts.

In his first spring outing, Rivera had the bases loaded but of course got out of it with no damage done. “It’s good because you’re out there throwing your pitches, working,” Rivera said. “It’s not six, seven, eight pitches. You need to throw to build you.

His arm felt “day and night” different from last spring, when he was coming back from surgery. “Last year it wasn’t even close,” he said. Here’s Rivera’s quick session with the media. He’s scheduled to next pitch on Friday, which is a split-squad day, and there was a lot of joking about the idea that he might be asked to pitch in the road game, which absolutely never happens.

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A.J. Burnett wasn’t especially happy with his outing, but he also hadn’t faced hitters in 10 days because his previous start was rained out. Jorge Posada told Burnett that this was the best his changeup had looked, but Burnett was more worried about his fastball.

“My emphasis is on my four-seam right now,” Burnett said. “My next pen I’ll probably throw 30 down and away and that’s all I’ll throw. I have to get that back and establish that… That’s my bread and butter. As good of a hook as I’ve got, that four-seamer is what sets the table. I’ve got to get confidence back in that.”

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UPDATE, 11:52 p.m.: Just a very quick update before I head to bed. Girardi’s session with the media was very short, only four or five questions, including one from Girardi himself who asked whether I now have the flu because I coughed when I walked in the room. Someone responded that Rivera was sneezing during his interview, to which Girardi said:

“He’s allergic to come in in the fifth.”

Pretty good line. The bulk of the interview was about Hughes.

“He threw the ball extremely well tonight,” Girardi said. “Attacked the strike zone. Had a good curveball. Threw some good changeups tonight. He let his fielders do the work, too. He looked good tonight. It seems like his fastball command gets better and better each outing, and that’s important.”

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57 Responses to “Notes from Tuesday”

  1. Chad Jennings March 16th, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Just a real quick note…

    I saw a few requests for me to update with scores more often. That seems very reasonable and simple, but the reality is that I haven’t seen the end of a single game this spring. I usually don’t see the last three or four innings. The Yankees open the clubhouse when the starting pitcher comes out of the game, so I’m always in the clubhouse by the middle innings. I generally have no idea what the score is until I get back upstairs. There’s a television with an in-house feed in the Yankees clubhouse, so I can usually catch some of the details, but updating with the score is actually kind of difficult and occasionally impossible. Sorry.

  2. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 16th, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Chad, thanks!

    Everyone has change-ups on their mind, lol. I’m happy for Phil that his change is coming along because he had a hard time with it for so long.

    Mo feels great – so I feel great.

    That’s also good news about AJ’s change; now he can work on his FB and getting that down…….Jorge’s mitt is going to be popping.

  3. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 16th, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Chad, please don’t apologize – you’re doing an absolutely fantastic job.

  4. CB March 16th, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    “Second time: Facing Bugusevic with two down and a runner on in the 8th, Hughes threw a change and got a grounder, force out at 2nd. #nyylive

    First time: On 2-1 with runners on the corners to Meyer in the seventh, Hughes threw a change. Meyer who grounded out to first. #nyylive”

    Those are from Carig’s Twitter.

    Unfortunately, we couldn’t see the game and Hughes was throwing against B hitters.

    But spring training is about how things are done more than what the results are.

    What’s encouraging with those ground ball outs is that both Bugusevic and Meyer are left handed batters.

    That’s exactly the kind of context that you want to have a change up as a tool to use in. Guys on the corners – lefty batter up. Throw a change and get the lefty hitter to role over on it and ground out to the right side of the infield. Guy on first – same deal – get him to ground out for the force.

    And I know it’s spring training – but even last spring training Hughes didn’t feel even comfortable enough to throw his change much. I remember him even last year saying the change was a pitch he just couldn’t get comfortable with.

    So Hughes engaged in the right process and it produced the right results.

    Those are the kind of things spring training is for and the kind of things young pitchers can build success on.

    That change up is an enormous pivot in Hughes’ career. Were he to develop a plus change he would be a legit #1 type starter.

  5. DonnieBaseball March 16th, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Doing a great job Chad! Looking forward to having you cover the Yankees for a full season. And thanks for the minor league updates as well!!

  6. PamB in Santa Rosa No Cal March 16th, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Fun to think about writers and announcers getting in shape to call games. Fans need to also. I have been doing penance all winter for the Yankees World Series win by being a fan of the Golden State Warriors. 3rd worst record in the NBA, decimated by injuries with an owner decidedly unlike George Steinbrenner-we Yankee fans are spoiled.

    But the Warriors are fast and fun to watch. The pace is so different than baseball. There is an adjustment period returning to baseball in the spring.

    Side note. Rookie Steph Curry of the Warriors has been a bright spot. He has some Jeterian qualities: class and amazing instincts for the game, and in the running for Rookie of the Year in the NBA. Forgive my digression!

  7. Jake March 16th, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Jobber has a uphill climb. He’s going to have to throw 97 with a gyroball to get back into the conversation.

  8. blake March 16th, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    “That change up is an enormous pivot in Hughes’ career. Were he to develop a plus change he would be a legit #1 type starter.”

    agree, with his fastball command if he can develop that change to a plus pitch I don’t think thats out of the realm of possibility at all, FB, cutter, curve, change is a really good assortment of pitches (a guy for the Phillies thats pretty good has a similar arsenal).

  9. m March 16th, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    PamB,

    If Stephan Curry was on my team, it’d be the PERFECT team.

  10. Rich in NJ March 16th, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    I think Joba merely has to be efficient. They are going to need more than five starters this season, probably for a significant period of time. If Joba impresses, even if he doesn’t begin the season as the fifth starter, I would hope that they utilize him so that he can step into the rotation if/when the need arises.

  11. Phil the Thrill March 16th, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    When Phil was pitching his no-no in 2007, he threw three changeups in a row to Tex and struck him out.

  12. Carl March 16th, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    # Phil the Thrill March 16th, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    When Phil was pitching his no-no in 2007, he threw three changeups in a row to Tex and struck him out.

    watching that game right now :)

  13. Bronx Jeers March 16th, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    I wouldn’t sweat those score updates Chad.

    Tell em to let their fingers do the walking and go to MLB.com.

    An off-color tweet every now and then would be nice though. :wink:

  14. PamB in Santa Rosa No Cal March 16th, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    m,
    It has been fun to watch Steph Curry progress. He sees the game and has amazing instincts, plus star power. Definitely reminiscent of Jeter except of course the Warriors aren’t going to the playoffs! CC has been to at least one game this year. He’s a fan.

  15. MTU March 16th, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    I wish there was a way to root for Phil or Joba without it being at the expense of the other.

    You root Phil in and it means Joba to the pen.

    You root Joba in and the same thing happens to Phil.

    Not ideal in either case.

    Guess that’s life in the cauldron that is the Yankees.

  16. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 16th, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Phil, I remember that – it was beautiful to see. I can’t think back to that game without feeling sad, though…

    Phil, except for last year, has always been injured or rehabbing, so he had no real chance to work on his change. I remember the quotes CB is talking about -and maybe the confidence he gained from his stint in the pen is manifesting itself now. In other words, maybe Phil now believes he can do anything (no I don’t mean it like he’s arrogant, just that he believes in himself).

    Why is the change-up such a good pitch, to the point where everyone seems to think it’s a necessary pitch to take one to another level?

  17. m March 16th, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Yah, I was not happy watching rain treys on us last night. And he’s such a cutie. In a totally platonic way. He’s like a little kid. haha.

  18. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 16th, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    MTU, I agree. It stinks that they came up at the same time – it would have been better had there been a gap between them. Actually, if Phil hadn’t gotten hurt in 2007 and 2008, we wouldn’t have this problem either. I hate rooting against Joba by rooting against Phil; I want Joba to be the best he can be as well – ideally as a fantastic starter.

  19. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 16th, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Curry was picked one spot ahead of where the Knicks picked (and they wanted him) – it’s just the luck of the Knicks, lol. Nothing ever goes right for them.

  20. DonnieBaseball March 16th, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Pre-game, Cashman on evolving No. 5 preference: “The list I had coming down with & the list I currently have now…are 2 different things.’

    Very interesting – it seems the pre-ST favorites may no longer be the favorites – or at least have company. This is from Cashman himself indicating that this race for no. 5 is not about Hughes v. Joba but that Aceves and company have a realistic shot. The race continues I guess. Good job by Hughes tonight w/ the ground balls – first pitch strike – well – and he was pitching to batters in the innings 6-9 in ST – but good job throwing all four pitches. This is not just a two horse race, per Cashman.

  21. MTU March 16th, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Betsy-

    Unfortunately that appears to be the scenario.

    I do not expect any creative surprises or out of the box thinking on the part of the Yankees.

    Winner to the rotation. Loser to the pen.

  22. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 16th, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    http://www.newsday.com/sports/.....-1.1815535

    Hughes went even more with his changeup tonight than in his previous start and said his confidence in the pitch has increased in each outing.

    “A lot more confident,” Hughes said. “There were points last year where I would never even think about throwinga changeup and now I feel like it’s a pretty effective pitch for me and I’m getting the results for me. It’s not like it’s getting barreled up all over the field. I’m able to get some ground balls and see that it is a good pitch for me and every time that happens I get more confidence in it and the ability to throw it more.”

    Hughes also feels he’s turning into a four-pitch pitcher.

    “Now I even have confidence in four which is big for me,” Hughes said. “I threw some good cutters tonight, one was a base hit on a 1-0, the bouncer to Jeter that he beat out. But I’ll take that all day long. Just having confidence in that pitch, having confidence in my changeup and obviously fastball, curveball is kind of what will always be there.”

    He added later: “The biggest thing about starting is going after and attacking guys three, four times through the order in different ways and I feel like I can do that a lot better now because I have four pitches that I feel like I can throw for strikes any time I want so I have those options. Where before I didn’t have a cutter, a changeup I rarely threw and I was fastball, curveball trying to mix up the way I attacked hitters and it just didn’t work because two pitches doesn’t do that.”

  23. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 16th, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    I still don’t believe it. If Cash is not lying, however, then I really have to question his ability to develop pitches. He’s nuts if he goes with Aceves over Phil or Joba.

  24. MTU March 16th, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    And the irony is that JC has always been a 4 pitch pitcher but he no longer commands or controls them the way he needs to.

    Two trains going in opposite directions so far.

  25. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 16th, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Nice article about Nick the Stick:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03.....nkees.html

  26. MTU March 16th, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Not that I think it’s going to happen but I think Aceves would be a very effective starter especially as a #5 man.

    Actually, I think he can be quite a bit better than that.

  27. DonnieBaseball March 16th, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Girardi, Eiland, and now Cashman have all indicated this is not just a two horse race. Until we hear otherwise from Yankee command, it is what it is, they are the ones deciding who makes the team.

  28. m March 16th, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    I know it won’t happen, but one of Hughes, Aceves, Joba should go to Scranton as a starter.

  29. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 16th, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/.....ns-a-save/

  30. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 16th, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    I don’t believe everything they say, Donnie.

  31. MTU March 16th, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    m-

    I’m with you but it aint happening. We both know that.

  32. DonnieBaseball March 16th, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Until there is actual proof to contradict them – no reason not to – I really do not believe in conspiracies – especially when it comes to something such as the no. 5 starter for the Yankees. Hard to swallow Cashman and everyone is going cloak and dagger on this.

  33. MTU March 16th, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    The Yankees are about ready to declare JC Rich Gossage, and Aceves Ramiro Mendoza the second.

  34. m March 16th, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    Why would he go with Aceves over Phil? He’s showing enough (to this point) that he can do the job.

    If he and Joba both fail, it’s entirely possible to have Aceves in the 5-spot.

    I know, he doesn’t have the upside or future that the other two have.

    But they can develop starters in the minors, too. Aceves doesn’t need developing.

    At any rate, If Hughes as another outing like today I expect him to have the job outright.

  35. DonnieBaseball March 16th, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    I would feel better if Phil had these results in innings 1-4 and not a Astros split squad – but overall- good job again Phil. Rooting for you and all Yankees!!

  36. Bronx Jeers March 16th, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    “Why is the change-up such a good pitch, to the point where everyone seems to think it’s a necessary pitch to take one to another level?”

    The change really messes with a hitters timing.

    All hitters want fastballs. A change looks like a fastball as the pitcher is basically throwing it like he’s throwing a fastball. Only they manipulate their fingers on the ball in such a way that it applies increased friction on the ball as it’s released and the result is that the ball moves slower and hopefully with movement.

    So the hitter thinks it’s a fastball based on the speed of the pitchers arm and swings earlier than needed.

  37. DonnieBaseball March 16th, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Plus – great separation in speeds between fastball and change can make the fastball seem as if it is being throw faster. That was the great thing about Pedro Martinez – killer change and separation from a fastball that was already great velo wise and dominant but the change made it even greater.

  38. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 16th, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Donnie, I hardly think it’s a conspiracy, but we’ll have to agree to disagree. Aceves is a fine pitcher, but Phil has the potential to be a star – and so does Joba. It would be downright asinine for Aceves to get the #5 spot based on ST. I think Phil would be at least as good as Aceves this year in the 5 spot and I have no doubt he’d be much better going forward. I don’t think Ace would be hot stuff as a starter – he’d be a #5, at BEST a #4

  39. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 16th, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Bronx and Donnie, thanks! It sounds like you really have to know how to pitch (as opposed to being a thrower) in order to have a good change.

    Donnie, by the way, I respect your opinion. In the end, it’s just our opinions – we won’t ever have proof one way or the other.

  40. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 16th, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    That makes sense – if you throw a change up, then a FB, the hitter is going to have a hard time catching up to the FB, right?

  41. MTU March 16th, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    I’m going to bed.

    And I’m going to dream my optimistic dream that a way will be found for both Phil and Joba to remain as starters.

    Because I don’t like the reality of diminished prospects.

    Nite all.

  42. Tarheelyank--Go Cal Bears!! March 17th, 2010 at 12:03 am

    MTU

    I am with you. I see them both starting. And sooner rather than later. Now if Joba will just be Joba. Good Night all.

  43. PamB in Santa Rosa No Cal March 17th, 2010 at 12:07 am

    Betsy. You are right about the Knicks. The Warriors were glad to get Curry. I am old enough to remember the great Knicks teams though.

    Regarding Cashman and his lists. He did exactly the right thing. Turned the heat up but kept it a 5 man race for the fifth starter spot.

    But Aceves is ready. Don’t see him in AAA. Do see him in the long relief role or fifth. It is hard to argue with ten wins last year even if some were bluebirds.

  44. pistol pete March 17th, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Hughes gets the 5 spot, Ace is needed for length in the pen, and Joba should go down to fix his problems. There are a few relievers doing well who would be lost if Joba is sent to the pen. Let’s see who Girardi likes of Ring, Logan, Melanson, Mitre, and Gaudin. If he sends Joba down he’ll be able to keep 3 of this group. He needs one of Gaudin/Mitre as a long guy, Ring or Logan as an extra lefty, and Melanson as a strikeout guy if he can harness his command. Joba is only going to crowd the pen while he’s finding himself. Let him go down with no pressure, find himself, they’ll certainly need him later. It’s a long season.

  45. Azaz March 17th, 2010 at 12:35 am

    steph curry was stolen from the knicks by greedy don nelson. Lol

  46. m March 17th, 2010 at 12:41 am

    This is a funny one. Golson pinch-ran for Gardner. And scored.

    http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com.....b_nyamlb_1

  47. XLJ March 17th, 2010 at 12:56 am

    m
    March 17th, 2010 at 12:41 am
    This is a funny one. Golson pinch-ran for Gardner. And scored.

    http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com…..b_nyamlb_1

    ———————————

    Girardi has already started with the overmanaging.

  48. braeden March 17th, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Sux fan are renaming Dice-k, Carl Panvano because of his many illnesses lately. Seems like the guy wants out of beantown, could you blame him?

  49. gfd March 17th, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Looking over Yankees payroll at http://www.mlbcontracts.blogspot.com Cashman makRes only 2M per year. This seem rather low for someone managing a $200M payroll doesn’t it?

    Phil looked much better today. Mo was Mo, reliable!

  50. m March 17th, 2010 at 1:24 am

    pat,

    Just saw they’re not projecting power until Thurs. or Fri. Hope you’re doing okay. It’s terrible that you can’t blog. :(

  51. bartonbickle March 17th, 2010 at 2:18 am

    Chad,

    Just wanted to comment on how great you’ve been throughout the spring with your coverage. You’ve posted lots of truly edifying stories and interviews answering all of the questions that I’d ask without injecting any hint of bias. Perhaps your coverage of the minors allowed you this objective insight, but it’s a welcome read and something I look forward to during the regular season.

  52. David in Cal March 17th, 2010 at 2:35 am

    I’m rooting for Phil to be the 5th starter, but I wish Aceves could start, too. Aceves’s lifetime major league ERA+ of 134 compares favorably to CC’s 121 and his W-L percentage of 91% is unreal. Of course, these results are based on a small sample size. Chances are he won’t continue to be that good. However, I’d like to see him get a chance to prove whether or not he’s that good.

  53. KyleLitke March 17th, 2010 at 3:35 am

    I might be wrong, but I think in Hughes’ 2nd career start (where he no hit the Rangers til he got injured), he struck out Teixeira on three straight changeups. I might be remembering it wrong, but I believe that was the case.

  54. Doreen - 2010 GTLU March 17th, 2010 at 7:05 am

    Donnie Baseball -

    If Cashman simply said his list now doesn’t look anything like the list he had at the beginning of ST, how do you infer it’s still a 5-man competition?

    I take it as meaning it may no longer be a 5-man competition, but more importantly, the I take it as the specific ORDER of the pitchers in that competition may have shifted.

    But, and I do know this is not a popular idea, the fact that Aceves is doing so well may give them other options that they did not know they might have before ST began insofar as what to do with Joba and Phil. How Mitre and Gaudin pitch may also impact how they begin the season. Because they do also have to think administratively as well as about on-the-field performance. And we all know that the team that breaks camp in April is ot the same team that ends the year, and a lot of times it’s not even the same team that starts May.

  55. upstate kate March 17th, 2010 at 7:28 am

    It is a nice problem to have, the notion of too much pitching. I really would like to eventually see both our young guys as starters. Maybe w/ Aceves doing so well, they send Joba to AAA to work on his mechanics, as some have suggested. If Joba is having problems, I don’t see how putting him in the pen will help him to improve.

  56. Captain Chaos March 17th, 2010 at 7:39 am

    I am not surprised that Hughes is starting to fair better as the heat is turned up. He has been working on the change up and cutter to round out his arsenal and getting good results. What I am surprised with is the impact CC has had on both AJ and Hughes, which I think is great. If those two can master those pitches this will be a very good year. No offense to Ace but Hughes has a much higher ceiling.

  57. Bronx Jeers March 17th, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Paul Simon is going to play the voice of Thurman in an upcoming animated movie.

    From El Duque over at the “It Is High” blog.

    http://johnsterling.blogspot.c.....urman.html

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