When Russell Martin was ejected last night, he’d just been to the mound to talk to Phil Hughes. It was on his way back to the plate that he came up with the “Did you stretch” joke that got him tossed.
“Phil was getting frustrated because he was making close pitches,” Martin said. “Not necessarily strikes, but he was making close pitches (and) wasn’t getting the calls. I saw he was getting frustrated, went out and talked to him, trying to buy some time just to get his mind back to where it needs to be.”
Joe Girardi has made it clear that he plans to have Hughes pitch again on Wednesday. It will only Hughes second appearance since September 12, and it will be his last tune-up before he settles into a bullpen role in the postseason.
“We have a pretty good back end of our bullpen so that part’s pretty much established,” Hughes said. “But whatever I can do to help in whatever capacity, that’s all I’m looking to do, just to be there. Whatever they need is what I’ll do.”
Girardi said he could use Hughes as a multi-inning reliever — he went 1.2 innings last night — or he could use Hughes for one inning (or one out). Hughes is stretched out, but he has late-inning experience, and no one seems too concerned about his ability to adjust back to the bullpen after two seasons in the rotation.
“You get crazy games,” Girardi said. “We had a crazy game (Sunday) night. It could be a situation like that. Where he fits in exactly, I don’t know. The big thing is I want him to throw the ball well so I have a lot of options.”
Hughes command wasn’t great last night. He’s hoping for better tomorrow. And he’s hoping for a chance to have an impact in October.
“Physically I felt good,” he said. “The back was a non-issue. I wasn’t locating perfectly, but I felt pretty good… Hopefully I’ll get in (Wednesday) and be effective.”