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Hughes: “It’s tough to live up to those expectations”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jun 01, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

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I was still writing for the Scranton Times-Tribune when the Yankees moved their Triple-A affiliate to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre back in 2007, and I remember there was no more anticipated player on that ’07 roster than Phil Hughes. He was 20 years old, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus agreed that he was one of the top five prospects in all of baseball, and he was already being compared to Roger Clemens. I’d seen Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels come through Scranton with the Phillies, but this was different. This was the Yankees, and this was their future ace. Supposed to be, anyway.

“It’s tough to live up to those expectations, I think,” Hughes said. “People talk about those kind of things and anything less is a failure, and that’s tough sometimes. So I think this was probably a good thing for me, just to go somewhere where I don’t have those things tied to me anymore and I can just be who I am and pitch.”

Hughes has pitched well since he got to Minnesota. He said he remembers throwing only one changeup all season — that pitch was always a big topic of discussion with him in the Bronx — and so far he’s 5-1 with a 3.23 ERA. His strikeout rate is basically the same as it’s always been, but his walks and home runs are way down. Obviously Hughes has never faced his former team, unless you count the time he pitched against Derek Jeter when the Yankees played the World Baseball Classic U.S. roster one spring. That game, Hughes was literally told to throw Jeter nothing but fastballs away so that there would be no chance of accidentally hitting and hurting him.

“I don’t think I have to do that this time,” Hughes said.

It’s kind of an interesting matchup: the guy who used to be knocked around in this ballpark against a lineup that’s trying to get going and start hitting for some real power. Hughes said he’s not expecting a good response from the crowd. His last season with the Yankees was especially rough — he was actually pretty decent in 2012 and legitimately promising in 2009-10 — and he’s obviously used to a negative response at Yankee Stadium.

“I have a lot of great feelings towards this city, towards the fans,” Hughes said. “But it’s tough when you leave somewhere on such a negative note, and that’s kind of how you’re going to be remembered by most, and that’s unfortunate. But I feel very fondly about my time here. As far as the transition, it’s been great. I don’t have any ill feelings towards anybody or anything. It’s just kind of the way things go. Like I said, leaving here on a bad note last year is tough, but what are you going to do?”

Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy have all moved on. Alan Horne, Steven White and Christian Garcia couldn’t stay healthy. Tyler Clippard, Jeff Marquez and Ross Ohlendorf became trade bait. An entire wave of Yankees rotation prospects has come and gone without having nearly the lasting impact that was expected more than a half decade ago.

“(Hughes) did some really good things for us,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He was pivotal in our bullpen for our championship run. Started I think the next year and won, I don’t know, I think 18 games or something. … This was a guy that took the ball, went out there and gave us everything he had. I think all the guys would tell you he was a great teammate and was fun to have around.

“I wish him a lot of luck, except when he’s pitching against us.”

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54 Responses to “Hughes: “It’s tough to live up to those expectations””

  1. J. Alfred Prufrock June 1st, 2014 at 8:37 am

    J. Alfred Prufrock says:
    June 1, 2014 at 8:26 am
    You know how I see the urgency of Dellin to start as the Yankees have no other choice, but where are they going to get the third dominant starter as this team need innings and a close game. I know that you have a better grasp of what these pitchers did in the minors, and if we leave Warren in the bullpen, can the Yankees get to October with Tanaka, Betances, Kuroda and the two left standing? I think it is cutting it too close.
    ///

    Hank – I have no idea we can be assured of an October berth off the strength of a 1-2 of Tanaka and Betances with Kuroda the swing guy, but even if we
    Fall short – would you prefer to do so with two shutdown starters to look forward to for 2015 and beyond? Or with one with Nova
    Joining the 2015 team later in 2015 and Pineda assured of nothing going forward and Betances still wasting his elite arm for back-end bullpen opportunities that are dependent on much lesser arms providing them?

    This version of the Yankees’ front office has constantly folded on The future effects of now
    Decisions even though the present has been for the past few years a paper mâché shot at winning at best; Cano walking for nothing because they thought they were seriously in it last year is just the latest and most damning example (mOre like they wanted to sell misguided hope to keep turnstiles cranking).

    Converting Dellin is not going to harm the pen in the here and now IMO, because they have a variety of youngsters on the farm who can do the job well enough; I am partial to Burawa and Heredia myself. Let’s face it: having to use 3-4 guys so often after the SP is not really a sustainable formula for lasting success, and Betances could be getting like 21
    Outs or so for you every fifth day instead.

    Hank, I also believe the theater of Betances’ entrance into a game – knowing the result in advance is
    Virtually guaranteed – has seduced the people who insist he Must not be moved because they don’t want that drama they look forward to taken away from them. The claim that is unpractical does not stand up to scrutiny. Having never seen a dominant Betances’ start, they would quickly realize they wouldn’t lose
    Any sizzle as a
    Viewing fan once they witness that.

    Bottom line: they desperately need a dominant starter now and in the future and giving up guys like Gary Sanchez AND Betances to get it, when they have this guy to do it for nothing save a little creativity and juggling, just tells us more
    Than ever
    That Moe and Curley continue to run this organization while our most bitter rival Boston plays out Cashman’s post 2009 lip service of strategic spends and system that yields everyday players. Boston has cleaned up on draft picks and likely won’t try to turn Henry Owens and Matt Barnes into EIG.

  2. MTU June 1st, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Change of scenery was exactly what Hughes needed.

    That bigger ballpark certainly couldn’t hurt either.

    Should have learned Mr. Splitty to compliment his FB.

    ;)

  3. joeman June 1st, 2014 at 8:45 am

    can the NYY at least try knocking on the door of the Cubs and see if they could be a trade partner….Cubs will be bringing up more young players from the minors soon which will move some of their starters to the bench or split playing time

  4. J. Alfred Prufrock June 1st, 2014 at 8:47 am

    I echo Girardi’s sentiments re Hughes. He was great picking up Clemens in Game 3 in 2007 ALDS when his Yankee
    Future was
    Still in front of him; it was
    Great
    To be there that night and if not for the midge
    Fiasco, who knows that win I relief Phil pulled out may have meant something. His setup performance down the stretch in 2009 was
    Huge
    To winning the division, and woe – who knows how it all turns out if not
    For that fateful night in Texas? Good luck Phil and thanks for helping us win a championship.

  5. yankeefeminista June 1st, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Huuughes! I will be at the game. And I will be the one Huughsing instead of booing. Like I said, I’ll be rooting for Hughes to do well but have the Yanks get the win — after all I’ve watched Hughes in the Yankee system for nine years from his starts in Trenton to his first mlb game vs. Toronto at OYS to that glorious 2009 season and beyond. I’ll remember the successes and think it is so cool that Hughes said he would go to that spot in the Yankee bullpen where he was standing when the Yanks won the 2009 World Series. Chad, that should be in your story! The thing I find most interesting about Hughes’ success of late (the park effects of Yankee Stadium notwithstanding) is that the Twins have Hughes throwing a two-seamer occasionally. Why oh why didn’t the Yankees add such a pitch instead of permitting Hughes to throw that cutter for so long? Anyway, pumped to see Phil (pitch well hopefully) and also Whitley live and hoping for a Betances appearance, a DRob save and a Yaaankeeees win.

  6. joeman June 1st, 2014 at 8:51 am

    I’ll take Castro and Olt

  7. MTU June 1st, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Howdy Joeman.

    Long time no see.

    I do not believe Castro is available any longer.

    A-Rod blocks an Olt deal.

  8. blake June 1st, 2014 at 8:57 am

    I hope Phil gives up 9 homers today and then pitched great the rest of the season…..I like him and am pulling for him……just not today

  9. yankeefeminista June 1st, 2014 at 8:57 am

    He was great picking up Clemens in Game 3 in 2007 ALDS when his Yankee
    Future was
    Still in front of him
    ___
    I remember that game well. Hughes was lights out after Clemens wasn’t and the crowd was pretty pumped/we were all so emotional in Tier 1 at the Stadium seeing one of our own. Ah, memories. #Homegrown and proud. More of that, please.

    Seriously, I was reading a Theo Cubs story last night (as per your referencing RS, Pruf, in previous thread) and how Theo and Co. hoarded draft picks to set up the Red Sox’s depth going forward before the new CBA kicked in. Red Sox pumped a ton of money into scouting and the draft and it shows. Still pretty bitter that we didn’t set the team up better for the present and future. I am tired of dumpster diving and FA dominance in the Bronx. But it will be fun to see some “homegrowns” in Whit, Dell, DRob of course and hopefully John Ryan today (although McCann has caught all three Whit games)… and fun yesterday to see a doubleheader with some of our futures in Trenton. Even though Red Sox AA swept two from us and lead the Thunder in the division. Here’s hoping.

  10. austinmac June 1st, 2014 at 8:58 am

    MLBTR says Alexi Ramirez could be made available. He could be our 2B this year and SS next.

    Although, I would take Castro any time.

  11. yankeefeminista June 1st, 2014 at 8:59 am

    I want to see a pitchers’ duel, but not likely in the friendly confines of the Stadium. But just win, baby.

  12. joeman June 1st, 2014 at 9:00 am

    MTU June 1st, 2014 at 8:56 am
    Howdy Joeman.

    Long time no see.

    I do not believe Castro is available any longer.

    A-Rod blocks an Olt deal.
    ——————————————
    Olt plays 1b also Tex looks like he’ll have a hard time getting 100% this year ..Olt could swing 3rd & 1st….Arod could DH…..

    future Cubs infield

    Rizzo
    Alcantara
    Baez
    Bryant

  13. austinmac June 1st, 2014 at 9:01 am

    I wish we had more guys capable of homers against Hughes. Surely, they are going to give Zoilo a shot. No Soriano please. He has turned into the guy a remember.

  14. joeman June 1st, 2014 at 9:03 am

    I expect Hughes will have a very nice game today …just for the fact stated no HR hitters on this team

  15. austinmac June 1st, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Joeman,

    The Yankees should not rely on a 40 year old AROD to play third. He was declining fast before he took a year away from the game. He runs like he is carrying someone on his back.

  16. blake June 1st, 2014 at 9:03 am

    I’m not a huge Alexi fan…..this year is very atypical for him and he’s 32 years old…..he usually kinda sucks. Would I trade for him for the rest of this year if the price were right…..maybe ….but I want no part of him on a multi year deal

  17. MTU June 1st, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Mac-

    I would be very surprised if Castro was available any longer.

    He is having an excellent season and seems to be back on track.

    I would think the Cubs would have to be blown away.

  18. blake June 1st, 2014 at 9:04 am

    The window to trade for a Castro has probAbaly closed…..he’s good and locked up cheap for his talent level.

  19. blake June 1st, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Olt could be available at some point but I’m not sure he’s anything but a younger mark Reynolds …..he has power but the hit tool is questionable

  20. joeman June 1st, 2014 at 9:06 am

    austinmac June 1st, 2014 at 9:03 am
    Joeman,

    The Yankees should not rely on a 40 year old AROD to play third. He was declining fast before he took a year away from the game. He runs like he is carrying someone on his back.
    ———————————-
    yea my point about trying to get Olt…Arod could DH next year if he’s back

    although Olt has power & drives in runs but his BA sucks

  21. joeman June 1st, 2014 at 9:07 am

    isn’t Baez rated a better player than Castro

  22. G. Love June 1st, 2014 at 9:08 am

    So all those people counting on healthy Pineda’s, Tex’s, etc…still feel good about that Yankee plan this morning?

    Yankees “infinite wisdom” knowing more than us plebes has more holes in it than Sonny Corleone.

    We now need a 1b/DH pure middle of the order hitter and a starting pitcher and the guys anyone will want in a trade are the guys who are contributing to our wins.

    And I’m not as warm and fuzzy on Hughes as some of you. I hope we can beat him today because hearing how he’s the one who got away will make me ill.

    He never mastered a secondary pitch here. Never. When the thought was send him down to learn one when he was getting his brains beat in up here the Yankees and Phil acted it was outlandish. Meanwhile they did just that to Nova, Phelps, Warren, etc. He got more special treatment than Jeter and Mo combined here.

    I’m just annoyed we’re going to be held hostage by Tex’s annual injury yet again. Especially when looked like a different hitter this year. The cough. The hamstring. The wrist. Every year it’s something. Giambi coming off roids was more durable.

  23. joeman June 1st, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Cubs could sure use a Catcher and that would be a starting point

  24. blake June 1st, 2014 at 9:09 am

    joeman says:
    June 1, 2014 at 9:07 am
    isn’t Baez rated a better player than Castro

    He’s a monster hitter….but I think they are gonna move him to 2B and keep them both

  25. MTU June 1st, 2014 at 9:09 am

    AR is your 3b next yr. unless he is physically unable to play or the Yankees can figure a way to recoup the 60 Mil. he is owed.

    Solarte can man the hot corner.

    Yankees need a SS a lot more.

    Many think it might be JJ Hardy.

    I like Andrus if the Rangers would let him go.

    Or Desmond Jennings of the Nats

  26. blake June 1st, 2014 at 9:10 am

    So all those people counting on healthy Pineda’s, Tex’s, etc…still feel good about that Yankee plan this morning?”

    Lol….man it was fun for those couple of weeks though right! 96 mph from Pineda! .900 OpS from Tex! It’s cruelty……

  27. joeman June 1st, 2014 at 9:12 am

    G. Love June 1st, 2014 at 9:08 am
    I’m just annoyed we’re going to be held hostage by Tex’s annual injury yet again. Especially when looked like a different hitter this year. The cough. The hamstring. The wrist. Every year it’s something. Giambi coming off roids was more durable.
    ———————————————————————————
    agree 100%…and I’m a huge Tex fan

  28. joeman June 1st, 2014 at 9:14 am

    blake June 1st, 2014 at 9:09 am
    joeman says:
    June 1, 2014 at 9:07 am
    isn’t Baez rated a better player than Castro

    He’s a monster hitter….but I think they are gonna move him to 2B and keep them both
    ——————————————————————–
    they have Alcantara in the minors who plays 2nd and should be ready to move up sometime this year

  29. MTU June 1st, 2014 at 9:14 am

    What has happened to Pineda so far comes right out of the Labrum surgery playbook.

    Setbacks and DL time are the norm.

  30. austinmac June 1st, 2014 at 9:15 am

    One guy who will be a free agent next year who could become available is Johnny Cueto. Check out his stats, 48 hits in 92 innings. The Reds are looking like possible sellers.

  31. MTU June 1st, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Time to go and create some Pupdemonium.

    Back in a while.

    :)

  32. joeman June 1st, 2014 at 9:18 am

    austinmac June 1st, 2014 at 9:15 am
    One guy who will be a free agent next year who could become available is Johnny Cueto. Check out his stats, 48 hits in 92 innings. The Reds are looking like possible sellers.
    —————————————————————
    very good SPer…last year was a disaster for him & this year so far he’s CY

  33. MTU June 1st, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Mac-

    Cueto has had a hard time staying healthy.

  34. NYYanksFan June 1st, 2014 at 9:21 am

    The trainer Arod is working with now has a track and field background. He’s dropped 10 pounds and looks lean. He says he plans on playing next year.

  35. austinmac June 1st, 2014 at 9:21 am

    If anything was obvious before the year it was that Teixiera and Pineda were likely to have significant injury issues. None of this is a surprise. Yet, the backup plan for 1B was two guys who had never played it before or hit like a first baseman. Is foresight prohibited?

    My prediction is they will dither as Beltran and Teixiera raise hopes only to end up out more than they play. Meanwhile, Morales, who costs only money, will go elsewhere. Hey, I could win the lottery and both guys could produce.

  36. austinmac June 1st, 2014 at 9:25 am

    MTU,

    Cueto has pitched at least 150 innings every year except 2013. He does have a violent delivery as I recall. But, his stats are stunning, and it is no fluke.

    That said, we would have to clean out the prospects. I think our moves will be more, what’s a nice way to put it, subtle.

  37. blake June 1st, 2014 at 9:25 am

    ——————————————————————–
    they have Alcantara in the minors who plays 2nd and should be ready to move up sometime this year

    I think they see their figure infield as …..Bryant, Castro, Baez, Rizzo

  38. Cashmoney June 1st, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Bryant, Castro, Baez, Rizzo
    —-
    massive potentials.

  39. joeman June 1st, 2014 at 9:35 am

    what you see from Tex going forward is the same as your seeing now….in and out of the lineup

  40. yankeefeminista June 1st, 2014 at 9:42 am

    You don’t need to be a home run hitter at Yankee Stadium to hit a home run off a flat fastball. Something about fly ball pitchers and RF walls… So, that will be no excuse if Hughes puts pitches over the plate.

    And Teix, Pineda… predictable. So, yeah, that is why I was complaining about our lack of any kind of bona fide glove at 1B. Meaning just someone who can sub there and not hurt us. We cry about versatility but than have none.

    As for Zoo playing, that would be nice, but I will believe it when I see it.

  41. Cashmoney June 1st, 2014 at 9:42 am

    i rather have the theo /hoyer tandem running this team than Cashman.

  42. yankeefeminista June 1st, 2014 at 9:43 am

    My prediction is they will dither as Beltran and Teixiera raise hopes only to end up out more than they play.
    ___
    You mean the old let’s not DL anyone in case they play at some point in the future maybe two weeks from now…??

  43. blake June 1st, 2014 at 9:44 am

    If you like to grill then I recommend Chris Lilly’s new book “Fire and Smoke”. It’s one of the best books I’ve read on grilling and smoking outside……some very unique recipes in there. The ones I’ve tried so far are fantastic…..his other book is amazing as well but it’s more just traditional how to smoke a pork butt etc…..

  44. Patrick June 1st, 2014 at 9:45 am

    According to Heyman, Hal and several other members of the Yankee hierarchy want to sign Morales. Unless tex is out for a long period of time I really don’t see a good fit

  45. blake June 1st, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Patrick says:
    June 1, 2014 at 9:45 am
    According to Heyman, Hal and several other members of the Yankee hierarchy want to sign Morales. Unless tex is out for a long period of time I really don’t see a good fit

    Why? Bees a better hitter than almost everyone in the current lineup. You stick him at DH when Tex can play and make Soriano a platoon bat. This thing with Tex doesn’t seem to be going away either so he’s built in insurance there as well

  46. exiledintampa June 1st, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Never trust what John Heyman says about a Boras client.

  47. joeman June 1st, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Spring Training Tex did say his wrist strength would be a issue all year..

  48. Cashmoney June 1st, 2014 at 9:54 am

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/w.....agent-says

  49. austinmac June 1st, 2014 at 9:55 am

    I agree with you, Blake. The reality is they have holes and not excess. Of course, if they signed Morales we might have to see less of Soriano against RHPs. What a shame.

    They need power desperately. Morales can supply some for only money. Bowden said on Friday he is not that bad a first baseman. Certainly, better than our Teixiera alternatives. He hit 23 homers playing in the park everyone uses to explain Cano’s power decline.

  50. SweetSpot June 1st, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Let’s hope something happens where A-Rod never puts on pinstripes again. He’s an embarrassment to the franchise, a repeated liar, a cheat and is probably the most disliked player in baseball according to his peers. He will be a constant negative storyline, a source of gossip, boos and drama and at his age and with his steroid past; highly unlikely to be an effective player and remain injury free.

  51. ac1 June 1st, 2014 at 10:26 am

    They need power desperately. Morales can supply some for only money. Bowden said on Friday he is not that bad a first baseman. Certainly, better than our Teixiera alternatives. He hit 23 homers playing in the park everyone uses to explain Cano’s power decline.
    ____

    I love the assumption that Morales will be some magic fix.
    The Red Sox are already regretting bringing back Drew.

    Live with what we have unless there is a big deal available like Lee.

  52. joeman June 1st, 2014 at 11:04 am

    James Shields would be a nice add to this team

  53. nicholas June 1st, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Hughes goes all scorched earth on us today, 7in 5H 1ER is my guess on his line

  54. joeman June 1st, 2014 at 11:06 am

    nicholas June 1st, 2014 at 11:04 am
    Hughes goes all scorched earth on us today, 7in 5H 1ER is my guess on his line
    ————————————————————-
    I could see that

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