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Pregame notes: Significant progress for Hughes

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes on Jun 29, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

It’s been assumed — because Brian Cashman said so — that Phil Hughes would need one more rehab start before rejoining the big league rotation. But it seems that plan is not set in stone. Cashman was in Trenton today to watch Hughes go 6.1 innings, and Joe Girardi said the team is deciding whether they need to see any more.

“That’s something we’re in the process of discussing,” Girardi said. “Cash just got back from, I believe it was Trenton. We’ll discuss that over the next couple of days. He said it was night and day from the start before.”

Hughes was only so-so in his previous start, but this outing was sharp. Multiple reports say his fastball was generally in the low 90s, topping out at 94. Girardi said Hughes only threw a few changeups, but his cutter and curveball were sharp. All eight of his strikeouts were swinging.

“It was a good step,” Hughes told The Associated Press. “I went out today and did not even think about stuff. I know that’s what everybody wants to know about, but my last two outings, and even in the (simulated) games in Florida, my stuff was good. I trusted that it would be there and worried more about command, so that’s really what I was most concerned about.”

Hughes would be on turn to start on Monday, either for the Yankees in Cleveland or for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against Lehigh Valley. Bartolo Colon is in New York and could start this weekend against the Mets, and Girardi said he’s begun thinking about what his rotation might look like with both Colon and Hughes healthy.

“We started for about 5-10 minutes before I came in here today,” Girardi said. “When they are both healthy, there are decisions that we’re going to have to make. We have a lot of people throwing the baseball good in our rotation, and that’s a good problem to have. We’re going to have to make some decisions.”

The first decision will be where to send Hughes for his next start.

“I just have to make sure I keep improving, getting all my pitches and making sure my location is good,” Hughes said. “I felt like I was throwing a lot more strikes and that was a good sign. Overall, I was just much more comfortable.”

• Colon is here, but the Yankees aren’t sure whether he’ll be activated this weekend. If he is activated, he’ll start Saturday against the Mets. If not, Brian Gordon will make that start. “We’re going to run him through some drills,” Girardi said. “Then we should know in a couple of days what we’re going to do with him. I have no answers on that yet, but he’s got to go through some drills for us.”

• Girardi said that right now, it’s either Colon or Gordon for Saturday’s start. As it stands, there is no third option.

• Derek Jeter once again ran the bases at less than full strength today in Tampa. “He basically just did the same thing (as yesterday),” Girardi said. “Ran the bases. Took ground balls. We don’t have a time table yet set for him, but he’s definitely going in the right direction.”

• Curtis Granderson fouled a ball off his right leg yesterday and had it wrapped after last night’s game. Girardi said he did not check with Granderson before posting the lineup, but he’ll check with him after batting practice.

• Alex Rodriguez has not hit a home run since June 11, but in those 14 homer-less games, he’s hit .408/.483/.531 with 14 RBI. “He’s been getting on base and driving in runs, and that’s basically his job in the spot where he hits in the order,” Girardi said. “He’s not trying to do too much. I think he’s taking what the pitcher is giving him. His average has been on a constant climb, and very pleased. His on-base percentage has been on a constant climb. Keeping the line moving is what he’s doing. But he’s also being very productive while he’s doing that.”

• If you’re looking for more on the Hughes rehab start in Trenton, go to my old friend Mike Ashmore’s blog. There’s an insane amount of information there, including video of every pitch and video of Hughes’ entire postgame press conference.

• Speaking of Mike’s blog, he notes that Melky Mesa has rejoined Trenton. He was sent to Tampa earlier this month, but that seems to have been largely to work his way back from injury.

• And speaking of Double-A: Austin Romine, Corban Joseph, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances made the Eastern League all-star team. I believe the International League all-stars will be announced later this week. The Pacific Coast League all-star team was announced today, including former Yankees utility man Cody Ransom. He’s hitting .321/.398/.632 with Reno in the Diamondbacks system.

UPDATE, 6:08 p.m.: Cashman agrees that Hughes might not need another rehab start. He also said it’s entirely possible Derek Jeter could begin a rehab assignment on Saturday, putting him back in the big league lineup during next week’s Cleveland series.

BREWERS
Rickie Weeks 2B
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Corey Hart RF
Mat Gamel DH
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C

Associated Press photos

 
 

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71 Responses to “Pregame notes: Significant progress for Hughes”

  1. West Coast Yankee Fan June 29th, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    If I am Brian Cashman I have to be thinking about pitching match-ups in the post season and making a deal if he can. Big if. We have a solid ace and number one in Sabathia, but we really don’t have a strong number two. A Cliff Lee, a Dan Haren, a Matt Cain, etc.

  2. LGY June 29th, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    One 100+ pitch rehab start for Hughes pls.

  3. LGY June 29th, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    but we really don’t have a strong number two.

    ——————-

    Bartolo Colon says hi.

  4. MTU June 29th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    LGY-

    That would be my preference too.

    Let’s see how the Yankees choose to play it.

    ;)

  5. West Coast Yankee Fan June 29th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Hughes is no a rookie, this was a rehab assignment, he’s clearly no longer injured, I watched the game, he looked great. His curve ball was excellent, I’d put him back in the rotation now before he forgets how to throw it again. : )

  6. SoS June 29th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    I think its time for a 6 man rotation.

  7. West Coast Yankee Fan June 29th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Betting on Colon for the long run is an iffy proposition physically but based on performance to date he’s definitely the number two on this team. No question.

  8. LGY June 29th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Hughes is definitely the x factor.

    Coming into this season I thought he would develop into that guy the Yanks could slot behind CC for the next couple years.

    Hopefully he goes out there and really starts putting together all the talent that he has.

  9. MTU June 29th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    SoS-

    Not happening.

  10. GreenBeret7 June 29th, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    words from the top.

    Ledger_Yankees Star Ledger
    Cashman: Says Hughes may not need any more rehab starts. He looked that good today.

    Ledger_Yankees Star Ledger
    Cashman: Soriano almost ready to progress from flat ground.

    Cashman: Colon a really good possibility this weekend. Chavez is also running at nearly full speed.

    Ledger_Yankees Star Ledger
    If Jeter is ready by Saturday, he’ll rehab in Trenton, Cashman says.

  11. bruceb June 29th, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Curtis Granderson fouled a ball off his right leg yesterday and had it wrapped after last night’s game.

    Why would he want to take the ball home with him?

  12. m June 29th, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Did I miss Colon’s rehab starts or…?

  13. LGY June 29th, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    On the flip side, it might be better to get Hughes back ASAP, because it gives them more time to evaluate him before the trade deadline.

    Hmmm….Not sure what I think they should do now.

  14. G-C June 29th, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Cashman jargon means that Hughes probably will pitch on Monday in Cleveland.

    I don’t think they want to risk him having a “setback” on the minor league level that would lead him to go into his first start with any less confidence than he would have right now.

    I feel some kind of rotation shuffle coming. Not sure how it will work, but they’ll figure it out. My gut is that by this time next week both Colon and Hughes will be in the rotation.

  15. MTU June 29th, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    LGY-

    I think Hughes has been experimenting too much. Maybe he finally will realize that more complicated isn’t necessarily better.

    To some extent that is part of the normal development cycle.

    At this point, one can only hope that Phil has begun to figure out what does and doesn’t work for him.

    I think he overused that cutter. It’s time to reduce it’s use IMO.

    I’d like him to simplify things. Stick with his dominant FB. Return to the power curve.

    And mix in the occasional CU and cutter.

    It didn’t happen but I always thought he would be a good candidate for the splitter, and for a 2 seamer. Some guys don’t have a good feel for the circle change.

    That FB commanded all four quadrants of the plate is always gonna be his bread and butter.

  16. LGY June 29th, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I revise my earlier request!! Forget the rehab start. Hughes in Cleveland pls!

    The more starts before the deadline, the better.

  17. MTU June 29th, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    GB-

    Translation: We need to see these guys before the TD comes around so we can assess what we really need.

    ;)

  18. GreenBeret7 June 29th, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Ledger_Yankees Star Ledger
    Derek Jeter may resume chase for 550th minor league hit on Saturday at Double-A Trenton. http://bit.ly/msqJqB

  19. Jerkface June 29th, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Did I miss Colon’s rehab starts or…?

    He pitched a simulated game and apparently is healthy enough to go, so he might go vs the mets with like an 80ish pitch count. He didnt miss as much time as Hughes.

  20. Betsy June 29th, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Sounds good, esp. about the curve. If he could just gain consistency with it. I’d like to see a few more changes, but at least he threw them. I would still give him another rehab start or two, but it sounds like he was strong and that’s the best thing. If Phil could master the curve or at least get it to be a good solid pitch for him, it would make a huge difference as to how good he could be – that’s how important I think the curve is.

  21. Betsy June 29th, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    He’ll have to shave that growth before he puts on his #65 again, lol

  22. West Coast Yankee Fan June 29th, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Fascinating and volatile discussion on Francesa about Jeter. Fans are pretty damn passionate about it on both sides.

  23. West Coast Yankee Fan June 29th, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    There was never any question in my mind about Hughes curve ball, it was obvious a long time ago that he throws a good one. Everything with Hughes works off his fastball and his command. He has four major league pitches, four-seamer, curve, cutter and a change.

  24. Betsy June 29th, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    So good news all around on the injury front – I can’t wait to get Chavez back again

  25. Jerkface June 29th, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    There was never any question in my mind about Hughes curve ball, it was obvious a long time ago that he throws a good one.

    For how obviously good it is the results aren’t there if you watch the game. It doesn’t generate as many swings and misses as a league average curveball and batters hit over .300 off it.

  26. West Coast Yankee Fan June 29th, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    As I said, it all start from the fastball. Hughes has always been a four-seamer power pitcher and his secondary pitches and his confidence in them are determined by the command and velocity of his fastball. What he has gone through the last year is a young pitcher figuring it out in combination with some physical problems. He just turned 25.

  27. West Coast Yankee Fan June 29th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Hughes has the physical tools, mound demeanor, work ethic and attitude to be a very good starter. I would be very surprised when it’s all said and done (barring injury) f he doesn’t get there.

  28. sunny615 June 29th, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Anyone wondering if this drop in power from Arod is from his injuries that he’s playing through or decline?

  29. backbench June 29th, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    WCYF – Klapisch article offers some insight into FO thinking on that subject. Is he credible?

  30. Yankee Trader June 29th, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    I recommend that Hughes next rehab start be with SWB. They play the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs on July 4th at Moosic, PA. Let him pitch to Montero, dazzle the pig crowd, and hop in the car afterward bringing Montero and Golson the short drive to NYC!!

  31. Jerkface June 29th, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    As I said, it all start from the fastball. Hughes has always been a four-seamer power pitcher and his secondary pitches and his confidence in them are determined by the command and velocity of his fastball.

    His fastball was very good last year and the year before, and his curveball wasn’t. He has a very inconsistent curveball. For the past 3 years his fastball has more swings and misses than his curveball by percent.

  32. MTU June 29th, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    YT-

    You live in Pa. Why don’t you offer to drive them ?

    :)

  33. LGY June 29th, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    As I said, it all start from the fastball. Hughes has always been a four-seamer power pitcher and his secondary pitches and his confidence in them are determined by the command and velocity of his fastball.

    —————–

    That was the problem with Hughes last year. It did start with his fastball and in theory hitters should have looked foolish against his curve because he got ahead in the count with a really good fastball. But they weren’t fooled

    For whatever reason hitters were recognizing his curveball no matter the situation and just teeing off on it.

  34. LGY June 29th, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Hughes’ curveball was reaaaallly bad last year.

    It was one of the least effective curveballs in MLB.

  35. West Coast Yankee Fan June 29th, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Backbench I can’t recall, I do read Klapisch sometimes. Didn’t he say the cutter screwed up Hughes or something to that effect?

  36. Abomb82 June 29th, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    No problem with Martin… the pitchers love working with him, he calls a good game, and has gotten great performances from the likes of Garcia, Colon, Nova, and Gordon, along with new guys in the pen. It doesn’t matter if he hits .220. His contributions go beyond the stats.

  37. MTU June 29th, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Hughes should go to D-Rob and say teach me how you throw YOUR CB.

    ;)

  38. Jerkface June 29th, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Hughes should go to D-Rob and say teach me how you throw YOUR CB.

    D-robs curve is sick. Hughes should go to a tighter power curve like D-rob.

  39. Patrick June 29th, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Phil Hughes basically stinks so just leave him in AA

  40. Eroc June 29th, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    If Hughes has such a great curveball, he certainly hasn’t shown it at all on the ML level. It was one of the worst pitches in baseball last year, IIRC.

  41. West Coast Yankee Fan June 29th, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Hughes curve ball today was superb.

  42. Jerkface June 29th, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    D-rob’s curve gets like 10% more strikes, 15% more swings, and twice as many swingin strikes as Hughes curveball. Its so good.

  43. -Matt- June 29th, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    I just want to see what Rothschild can do with Hughes. Maybe make him cut down on that cutter.

  44. backbench June 29th, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    WCYF – Sorry. At my age keeping two subjects going simultaneously is a challenge. I was referring to your comment about Jeter. Klapisch was discussing the dilemma facing the FO and their inside thoughts.

  45. Jerkface June 29th, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Hughes curve ball today was superb.

    Well lets hope it fairs as well against major league hitters.

  46. MTU June 29th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Abandon that Knuckle curve and go back to a more conventional grip.

    Very few guys can throw a knuckle curve in the way that AJ does. Like a buzzsaw.

    Moose threw the knuckle curve too but his was the big loopy variety.

  47. Patrick June 29th, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Phil Hughes should really just retire already

  48. ron June 29th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    http://thunderbaseball.wordpress.com/
    Here is a lot of video oh hughes start today,with romine catching.

    One clip has romine throwing out a runner.

    Romine looks real good behind the plate.
    For sure an upgrade over cervelli imo.

  49. West Coast Yankee Fan June 29th, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    backbench June 29th, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    WCYF – Sorry. At my age keeping two subjects going simultaneously is a challenge. I was referring to your comment about Jeter. Klapisch was discussing the dilemma facing the FO and their inside thoughts.

    ********

    My bad, I thought you were talking about Hughes. I didn’t read the article and I honestly have no clue what discussions are taking place about Jeter internally. That having been said, I don’t think Girardi would have been as emphatic about Jeter’s slot being there for him when he returns if it hadn’t been discussed with Cashman and others.

    I personally think nothing will change until well after 3,000 and the All-Star break. I do think, if come August 15th Jeter is performing really poorly, there might be a change. That’s just my gut.

  50. Betsy June 29th, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    So what kind of curve did he have in the minors and would it work here? He has tinkered with the grip a lot. I’m not sure this is a pitch that he has a lot of feel for, like the change – and as he’s missed time (or not used it, like in the pen), he’s lost it. Maybe it’s because he didn’t throw this pitch as a kid – he only picked it up in the Yankees’ system.

  51. Betsy June 29th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    It’s hardly as easy as just saying for Phil to pick up Robertson’s curve…….then what, ask Robertson to get Phil’s FB? Phil doesn’t have to have Robertson’s curve, he just needs a good one.

  52. LGY June 29th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Hughes had a power curve in the minors.

  53. MTU June 29th, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Betsy-

    It’s just a guess but I’d bet he used a conventional grip earlier and has learned the knuckle curve later on.

    We both saw that video that showed how much Phil likes to experiment with different grips.

    Maybe it’s time to go back to what worked the best. The one he used in the minors was
    very effective.

    :)

  54. Jerkface June 29th, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Hughes curve went from 1-7 in the minors to 12-6 to knuckle curve to whatever he is throwing now (maybe still the knuckle curve)

    In the majors the velocity has been from 72 to 77 avg.

  55. Laura - I Bleed Blue June 29th, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    So if they re-active Colon for Saturday’s game, what does that mean for Gordon? Do they just toss him aside – DFA him or send him to the minors?

  56. backbench June 29th, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    WCYF -

    Link to Klapisch article

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/s.....ist-062811

  57. Laura - I Bleed Blue June 29th, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    And when Hughes comes back, they aren’t going to dump Colon. Who gets cut? Nova? Garcia? Inquiring minds want to know the answer to these burning questions. :)

  58. MTU June 29th, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Enjoy the game folks.

  59. Jerkface June 29th, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    It’s hardly as easy as just saying for Phil to pick up Robertson’s curve…….then what, ask Robertson to get Phil’s FB? Phil doesn’t have to have Robertson’s curve, he just needs a good one.

    Well fastball comes from your god given arm, can’t really acquire that, but curve is a grip and though Hughes wouldn’t be the exact same as robertsons due to being different arms maybe working with robertson would help. Its like the cutter. No one is going to throw a rivera cutter, but learning the grip how to throw it can be helpful.

  60. Betsy June 29th, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    LGY, thanks. I guess he should go back to that – it’s so confusing. Is the power curve different from the knuckle curve that Moose showed him? Rothschild hasn’t had the chance to work with a healthy Hughes and now he will, so I would imagine they’d figure it out.

  61. Jerkface June 29th, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Is the power curve different from the knuckle curve that Moose showed him?

    Power curve is faster and with sharper break, usually 1-7 instead of over the top 12-6. Knuckle curve is going to be loopier.

  62. Betsy June 29th, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Jerkface, that’s true…………good points.

  63. West Coast Yankee Fan June 29th, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Thanks Backbench appreciate the link.

  64. Betsy June 29th, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Jerkface, but I remember Phil showing up in 2009 with a power curve and everyone loved it. The problem was that he went into the pen and didn’t use it. I still remember the curve he threw to the guy from the Nats – Zimmerman? – and it was awesome. I’m not sure when he changed again, but it doesn’t help that he’s had a hard time staying healthy.

  65. RadioKev June 29th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Hughes really could put us over the top

  66. Laura - I Bleed Blue June 29th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    According to that Klapisch article, Jeter’s stats are worse than I thought. He’s hitting .179 with RISP. He most certainly can turn that around, but that is an awfully low BA.

  67. Betsy June 29th, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    A few scouts at the game (this per Newsday) were mixed as to whether Phil should be called up for his next game. The one that said no just thinks his endurance is not quite there yet…..

  68. m June 29th, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Betsy,

    That’s interesting. I doubt Hughes gives 6.1 IP on 100 pitches. If they bring him up, he’ll need a caddy.

    He must have looked good, though. Cashman’s hard to please. :)

  69. BoJo June 29th, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Laura – I Bleed Blue June 29th, 2011 at 6:41 pm
    So if they re-active Colon for Saturday’s game, what does that mean for Gordon?
    ___________
    Bullpen…or trade him for Mitre.

  70. Betsy June 29th, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Hmm, Josh Norris reports Phil as using a loopy curve…….

    http://www.trentonian.com/arti.....736134.txt

  71. LGY June 29th, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    It would never happen, but it would be really fun to see how Robertson would fare as a starter.


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