A.J. Burnett’s struggles continued last night, but the bigger pitching news was the announcement that Phil Hughes would have his next turn in the rotation skipped in an effort to cut down on his innings before the all-star break.
I don’t think the news caught anyone by completely surprise, but even Hughes himself didn’t know about it until Sunday.
“I told him yesterday,” Joe Girardi said last night. “There’s a reason that you don’t tell him. Because you can’t predict what’s going to happen, number one, and number two, I don’t want it to be in his mind over his next couple starts. I wanted him to be focused on only that start. Once he got through his start and CC got through his start, that’s when I told him.”
The upside is obvious. Hughes takes a break, saves some bullets and rests his arm. The potential downside is, for a pitcher on a roll, time off isn’t necessarily a good thing.
“You hate to see a guy get out of his rhythm,” Girardi said. “But he didn’t pitch with us at the beginning of the year. He threw some innings down in the minor leagues, and it didn’t seem to bother him.”
Hughes, as you might expect, took the news about as well as possible.
“It’s not like I came out of the gates and I was struggling and this is going to be a setback for me,” he said. “I don’t really view having a couple of extra days off as being a setback. I don’t believe that. I think I’m going to take the approach of taking advantage of the extra rest and hopefully be strong in my next start.”
Here’s the Hughes audio from yesterday.
Associated Press photo