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

Monday notes from the minor league complex

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes on Mar 26, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

I doubt the Yankees would ever frame it this way, but essentially they have to decide whether Phil Hughes will be more like the 2010 version of himself or the 2011 version. So far, he’s very clearly looked more like 2010, and he’s been able to maintain that level of performance throughout the spring.

“The beginning of that year, you come in and that real-season adrenalin starts to kick in,” Hughes said. “Everything is a little bit better, a little bit crisper. I don’t think I’m pitching that well at this point, but that’s not to say that it can’t be there when April rolls around and we get things going. I feel like I’m close.”

Hughes’ fastball velocity has been fairly consistent this spring, and I talked to one scout today who said he wouldn’t be surprised to see it topping out a little higher a month or two into the season. He’s started throwing a harder, tigher curveball, and his changeup seems to be even better than it was in 2010. He’s walked two hitters all spring.

“I think he’s very close (to 2010) right now,” Francisco Cervelli said. “He’s got to keep working, because the season is long. He has to keep getting stronger.”

He looks strong right now, and if he keeps pitching at his 2010 level, I’ll be surprised if Hughes isn’t in the rotation come Opening Day.

• Cervelli threw out three base runners trying to steal and he hit a home run to tie the Hughes game in the fourth inning. Pretty good day for the only Yankees position player who had to work today.

• Hughes was pitching for the High-A team. The Low-A group was also in Tampa today. Triple-A and Double-A were on the road in Clearwater. The Low-A Charleston lineup is really, really impressive. Check it out at the bottom of this post.

• Andy Pettitte will throw his second batting practice tomorrow, but Larry Rothschild said he’s not sure what comes after that. He’s also not sure whether Pettitte will get in a game this spring, but he doesn’t seem to be ruling out the possibility.

• Joe Girardi was home visiting his ill father this morning but Rothschild, Rob Thomson, Billy Eppler and Brian Cashman were among the Yankees decision makers watching Hughes pitch.

• Center field prospect Mason Williams and catching prospect Gary Sanchez have been moved from the Tampa group to the Charleston group (which was expected). J.R. Murphy has been moved from Trenton to Tampa. Those assignments are more in keeping with where they’ll almost certainly open the regular season.

• Speaking of Sanchez, he and Tyler Austin hit back-to-back homers in the Low-A game today.

• I didn’t see it, but apparently Ravel Santana made his spring debut today. He’s back from a ankle injury.

• George King reported yesterday that the Phillies might be interested in Ramiro Pena to help them fill their sudden hole in the infield. Today I heard it’s true that the Phillies might have some interest, but only at a cheap price. They’re not willing to give up much. Today the Phillies signed Chin-lung Hu to give them some utility depth.

• Very good to see P.J. Pilittere this afternoon. The former Yankees minor league catcher is now a coach in the Yankees system. Very good guy. Could be a natural manager some day.

• Here are today’s lineups for Tampa and Charleston. This might be the actual Opening Day lineup for Charleston, and it’s loaded with legitimate prospects. Pretty impressive, actually.

Eduardo Sosa CF
Kelvin Castro 2B
Ramon Flores LF
Rob Segedin RF
Kyle Roller 1B
J.R. Murphy DH (went to catcher in the seventh)
Zach Wilson 3B (made a nice play in the field today)
Carmen Angelini SS
Francisco Cervelli C

Mason Williams CF
Ben Gamel LF
Dante Bichette 3B
Gary Sanchez C
Tyler Austin RF
Cito Culver SS
Angelo Gumbs 2B
Reymond Nunez 1B
Anderson Feliz DH

• Finally, I’ll be hosting a chat here on the blog at noon on Wednesday. Stop by if you can. I’m sure we’ll jump into the rotation decision and some of the guys who have made noise this spring.

Associated Press photos





68 Responses to “Monday notes from the minor league complex”

  1. Bret The Hitman March 26th, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    If the Phillies can’t offer a major league quality reliever for a young utility infielder with ML experience at the shortstop position then there is no incentive to trade him.

  2. Benny Blanco March 26th, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    He’s only walked two batters this spring? wow!

  3. Nick in SF March 26th, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Pat M, I think you’re right, it was just about Hughes. I got a little mixed up thinking about other rotation issues. There is Nyquil in my system, not to mention ramen broth.

  4. Giuseppe Franco March 26th, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Have a speedy recovery, Nick. That is, unless you have ramen broth and Nyquil in your system for the thrill of it.

  5. Nilsson March 26th, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Lin is also out tonight. Though not as serious as STAT’s injury. Maybe Novak plays a bigger role. Chandler and Lin are probably the most valuable on this team long-term.

  6. tucker March 26th, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Now weren’t the Yankees reportedly willing to trade for Ubaldo Jimenez last summer with a Phil Hughes-led package, though not Ivan Nova?

    If that was the case, do the Yanks still value Nova more than Hughes. Nova has more time left, but he has less of a track record. Hughes’ track record, of course, has been uneven though promising at times.

  7. Bronx Jeers March 26th, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    I think Mikey from the old Life cereal commercials died from mixing NyQuil and ramen broth. :shock:

  8. Betsy March 26th, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Just when Amare was starting to find it again; back injuries suck – I suppose this will linger for the rest of his career.

  9. Betsy March 26th, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    A bulging disc………oh brother

  10. Nick in SF March 26th, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks, GF. The thrills won’t begin until I add hot sauce to the equation.

  11. Bret The Hitman March 26th, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Vitamin C powder – $16 for 1 month supply

    2,000 mg every two hours. You won’t make it through half the bottle before you recover.

  12. MTU March 26th, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Just make sure the Vitamin C powder is buffered.


  13. Nick in SF March 26th, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Jamba Juice Cold Buster plus a big bowl of yukejang?

  14. Joe from Long Island March 26th, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Nick- hot tea, mixed 50:50 with good whisky.

    Never fails.

  15. Bret The Hitman March 26th, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    The human species has a genetic code that sequences for synthesis of Vitamin C but the code was damaged some time in our past (some theories suggest a virus). Dogs and guinea pigs can still make their own Vitamin C. It’s integral to immune health and one of the most powerful antioxidants on Earth. It will help you flush toxins and reduce the workload on your immune cells.

  16. Pat M. March 26th, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Get well Nick….And take Doc Joe’s perscription every hour

  17. Bronx Jeers March 26th, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Skip the Jamba Juice and double down on the yukejang and it’ll help ya “straighten out your Longfellow”

    That’s one for the geezers. :wink:

  18. RadioKev March 26th, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Oh Ubaldo Jimenez. Glad we dodged that bullet.

  19. Bret The Hitman March 26th, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    The high concentration of ascorbate in leucocytes and its rapid expenditure during infection and phagocytosis suggests a role for the vitamin in the immune process. Evidence published to date shows an involvement in the migration and phagocytosis by macrophages and leucocytes, as well as the induction and expression of delayed hypersensitivity. Its effect on antibody production and complement levels is controversial but probably minimal. This study suggests there is room for further investigation into the effect of ascorbate on immunity, particularly with defined populations, but cautions the use of megadose therapy.

  20. BD (Boston Dave) March 26th, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    “ron March 26th, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    The offer (for Garcia to Miami) is not important.

    What is,if true,is the fact that the yankees tried to trade him.”


    not important?

    that’s funny.

  21. BD (Boston Dave) March 26th, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    so it wouldn’t matter if they asked for Logan Morrison or if they just offered him as a salary dump? brilliant!

  22. Mike_Boston March 26th, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    At first signs of a cold I use Coldeeze (generic is fine). If you get it early enough the cold doesn’t even develop but if you already have it your symptoms will be reduced by around 50%. Just follow the indications…I don’t understand why more people don’t use it actually?

  23. Pat M. March 26th, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I guess my daily glass of OJ and V8 just isn’t cutting it…..Maybe I need to take Vit C supplements along with my multi…….Hey Bret, I need to drop 20 lbs by June, any suggestions other than gym time ????

  24. BD (Boston Dave) March 26th, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    try the green smoothies Pat….

  25. blake March 26th, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    The stuff still may not be quite back to where it was coming out of camp on 2010…..but from what I’ve seen from Hughes this spring I think he might be a better pitcher than he was the ….this spring is the best I’ve ever seen him use his pitches and manage a game…..he has looked totally decisive and in control the times I’ve seen him throw…..

  26. Pat M. March 26th, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    blake….I think Hughes learned much last season about pitching…….BD ( Boston Dave ) Green smoothies ???

  27. MTU March 26th, 2012 at 8:34 pm


    The evolutionary path for a young pitcher is rarely a straight line pointing in one direction only.

    In Hughes case it has been affected by freak injury, improper management, and occasional lack of personal responsibility.

    Patience is required.

    Maybe this is the year where everything comes together.

    I hope so.


  28. blake March 26th, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Pat M,

    Yup….im excited about him this year……he’s a big x factor.

  29. blake March 26th, 2012 at 8:37 pm


    It looks like a possibility ….we can hope. If he starts to reach his potential then you have a guy pitching like a 2 as your #5.

  30. luis March 26th, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Good evening everyone,


    If we have a number 2 as the 5th SP, he is probably moved to a more important role. If he performs as a solid number three, we should be ecstatic. I think he will by the way.

  31. MTU March 26th, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Every starter on our staff is capable of winning 15 games or more.


  32. MTU March 26th, 2012 at 8:46 pm


    I see the Commandante has returned to Cuba for more treatment.


  33. Betsy March 26th, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Blake, the curve has really encouraged me. The change? He tends to use it in ST and then forget about it, so we’ll see. I’m glad he’s not overusing the cutter……..and his arm is back. He’s not a guy that’s ever going to throw 93-95 no matter what people have said, so as long as he’s got life on his FB, he’s good. Phil seems at peace and confident, maybe because he’s hit rock bottom and he’s got nothing to lose.

  34. luis March 26th, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    MTU March 26th, 2012 at 8:46 pm


    I see the Commandante has returned to Cuba for more treatment.



    Probably wants the Pope blessing. According to some reports the cancer didn’t respond to the radio therapy, they say he may have 9 months to live at best.

  35. Trigeminal Neuralgia Yank March 26th, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    If you’re taking that much vitamin C , better get a good book for the bagno.

  36. Betsy March 26th, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Hi Luis!

  37. luis March 26th, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Betsy March 26th, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Blake, the curve has really encouraged me. The change? He tends to use it in ST and then forget about it, so we’ll see. I’m glad he’s not overusing the cutter……..and his arm is back. He’s not a guy that’s ever going to throw 93-95 no matter what people have said, so as long as he’s got life on his FB, he’s good. Phil seems at peace and confident, maybe because he’s hit rock bottom and he’s got nothing to lose.


    Sometimes you need to take a fall in order to learn and rise again. I think his struggles have make him mature both as person and as pitcher.

  38. BD (Boston Dave) March 26th, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Pat M,

    yeah, been drinking a couple a day for a while now (they’re not for everyone – but ive lost a little weight, havent been sick in 5-6 months)

    kale or spinach, whatever fruits you want (bananas, apples, etc), frozen fruit (i use strawberries usually), add addtl veggies if you want…. i add flax seed and acai or pomegranite juice.

    yum :)

  39. luis March 26th, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Hi Betsy,

    How are you?

  40. MTU March 26th, 2012 at 8:55 pm


    It seems to have metasasized.

    You mean Fidel’s best can’t help him ?

    I thought Cuba had the best Dr.’s in the World.

    Viva Venezuela Libre !

  41. Pat M. March 26th, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Hughes looks real lean in the above photo……..

  42. Faiaz March 26th, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Cervelli: Alex was like “Excuuuuuuuse me? You aren’t gonna give ME a refund?”

  43. luis March 26th, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Viva Venezuela Libre !

    +1 :) Así es!

  44. MTU March 26th, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Pat M.-

    Hughes is a Man on a Mission.

  45. Betsy March 26th, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Pat M, I did get criticized for saying Phil had bulked up too much, but I honestly think he looks much better this way. It’s not only his natural body type (long and lean), but I’ll bet he’s much more agile on the field as well.

    Luis, I think so too. For a 25 year old, he’s sure been through the wringer. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

    I’m fine – can’t complain; how are you?

  46. Betsy March 26th, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    No habla espanol, lol.

    What’s seriously cool about language is that many languages derive from Latin so that even if you don’t speak a certain language, you can read it because a lot of the words are similar to ours – they have the same root. Sorry – I’m an English major or I was one!

  47. MTU March 26th, 2012 at 9:04 pm


    I am fluent in 5 languages :


    I’m still workin’ on the English as a 6th language.


  48. Betsy March 26th, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    MTU, lol

  49. luis March 26th, 2012 at 9:07 pm


    LOL! You write Spanish rather well. I always thought that English wasn’t originated from Latin. It does have a lot of common words though. I remember during the first weeks of my English course, i would use words in Spanish that actually had the same meaning in English, not because a knew it, but because i was struggling so bad that i used them as a crouch. The teacher would always say, “Luis, you have an impressive vocabulary!”, i never told him that i didn’t know that those words had the same meaning. LOL!

  50. MTU March 26th, 2012 at 9:07 pm


    And poquito Espanol too.

  51. Rich in NJ March 26th, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I think Hughes’ season (and his career) turn on his health. I think the decision to finally commit to taking off the poundage and getting in shape may be a turning point for him.

  52. m March 26th, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I agree with what you’re saying in regards to Phil experiencing trials and tribulations. But I wouldn’t say Phil hit rock bottom. That kind of statement can be used for Josh Hamilton or maybe even in the case if Joba if this healing/rehab takes an extremely long time.

    It was very tough for us to endure Phil’s mysterious spring/summer last year. But he did bounce back later in the year.

    But the cumulative career of Hughes has seemed much longer and more difficult than it really has been. Some people just grew disgusted with the whole thing. Of course not a peep out of those people this spring.

  53. Nick in SF March 26th, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks for all the suggestions… double yukejang, hot tea with good whisky (no problem there), and whatever powders I can rustle up. Sounds great. I’ll try them all and then see if I can sort out the Yanks’ rotation questions.

  54. Rich in NJ March 26th, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    The only way you can view Hughes as having hit rock bottom is if you use his heralded status as a near can’t-miss prospect and now must fight to remain/get back in the rotation, let alone preserve his Yankee career.

    The thing about rock bottom is that you can almost always go lower…until you are…dead.

  55. MTU March 26th, 2012 at 9:16 pm


    For your next vacation I hope you go to a Country that promotes good health.

    Like Sweden.

    Get well soon.


  56. m March 26th, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    I can’t look at it that way.

    There have been better pitchers than Phil who have either flames out or are floating around on minor league contracts.

    So potential is just that. Until it’s realized.

  57. luis March 26th, 2012 at 9:40 pm


    I don’t think he hit rock bottom. But he certainly had his fair share of trials and tribulations. Some were out of his control ( injuries ), others perhaps as a result of his own making (lack of conditioning?). I don’t think there is a worse feeling for a pitcher than when that pitcher thinks that he can’t help his team ( like last season at some point). So i think he is committed to never let that happen again.

  58. trisha - true pinstriped blue March 26th, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    nick – I have a sister who swears by echinacea, though I myself go with Airborne, every 4 hours, and it definitely does the trick.

    Vitamin C as a boost to the immune system has been around forever. In fact I remember reading years ago there were two brothers in the 1940s (wish I could remember their names) who were doctors in North Carolina and who used to give their patients IV vitamin C when they were in the hospital. Well it seems that their patients were making extremely quick recoveries and I think one of the things they seemed to be curing in short order was hepatitis C. I want to say that they were successful with cancer also, but I’m not totally sure. Well wouldn’t you know that they ended up losing their hospital privileges and were pretty much blackballed from the medical community because they refused to stop using IV vitamin C in the hospital.

    Disgusting isn’t it?

    Vitamin C is amazing stuff. Although there is evidence that too much of it can cause kidney stones, I think you’re talking humungous amounts since it is water soluble. I remember reading that 2000 mg. was a good amount to take. In fact for years I took it faithfully.

    Stupid me. At some point I must have gotten busy with other things!


  59. trisha - true pinstriped blue March 26th, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Pat M – you could never get enough C with orange juice, V-8 or anything else since C is water soluble. You definitely need to supplement your C, and C also provides a good boost for your immunity. When the body is under any kind of stress at all (I think working out at the gym is stressful :) ) the first things you lose are your B and C vitamins.

    Taking a good daily is a smart idea. Supplementing it with C, if your multi doesn’t have a good amount, is another smart idea.

    Maybe I’ll try it again myself.


  60. luis March 26th, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Hi Trish,

    It’s definitely great to have you back in high spirits!. I take Vitamin C, 1 gram a day. I very seldom get a cold.

  61. yankeefeminista March 26th, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Nick, in addition to vitamin C, eat/drink miso soup, homemade; don’t boil it with lots of ginger (and if you like it, garlic). That, echinacea and vitamin C can cure anything.

    Norris has videos up of the kids taking BP, including Ravel and Sanchez, as well as some other stuff:!/jnorris427

  62. luis March 26th, 2012 at 10:05 pm


    Thanks for the link!….I watched Austin, Sanchez and Bichette. Austin’s is a money swing. Sanchez swing looks more compact and he has a very short leg kick, lokks like his time with Long helped him a lot. Bichette has a very nice swing but he has a big and long leg kick that i think he has to work on.

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