Hughes focusing on changeup in minor league camp


Hughes vs. VictorinoPhil Hughes made his first appearance yesterday since being optioned down to Triple-A Scranton on Saturday, throwing five innings of one run ball against the Phillies’ top minor league affiliate. We don’t have a box score, but Chad Jennings says Hughes allowed only one extra base hit, which eventually led to the lone run. More importantly, Hughes retired the side in order in the fifth when pitching coach Scott Aldred told him to throw first pitch changeups to every batter he faced in the inning. He wasn’t facing a bunch of scrubs either, two of the three hitters he sat down in the inning were Shane Victorino and Jason Donald, an everyday player on a championship caliber team and the Phightin’s best prospect.

“I’m throwing my changeup a lot, trying to get my cutter going,” Hughes said. “I’m not throwing as many curveballs as I usually do, but that’s kind of what spring training is for.” Amen to that.

Elsewhere in the game, 2003 first rounder Eric Duncan played his first game outside of the infield, spending the entire game out in left field. In the never ending attempt to get some value out of him, the Yanks are having the Jersey born Duncan play some corner outfield this year to add some versatility to his game. Duncan only had to field three balls on the day – two that dunked in for hits in front of him and another fly ball near foul territory that he caught in stride. Baby steps people, baby steps.

Photo via Chad Jennings

Categories : Minors


  1. A.D. says:

    Really nothing to lose for Duncan.

  2. Reggie C. says:

    Hopefully those back problems are behind Duncan now. He’s probably lost some mobility and overall athleticism, but at least this move gives him some hope of seeing ML action. 1B is well cluttered behind Tex, Swish, and Miranda.

  3. Mattingly's Love Child says:

    Hughes, one run and one xbh, BUST! Trade him for Nick Punto, a real utility man!

  4. A.D. says:

    If Hughes can really be using the change, that’s huge

  5. Jake H says:

    If Hughes can make either of the change up or cutter into an average pitch with the other being an above average pitch he will be successful since his curve is a plus pitch.

  6. Observer283 says:

    The more I hear about Hughes pitch development, the more I envision him as the next Mussina (HOPEFULLY). Different speeds, different pitches, variations on speed with the same pitch, great command. That’s his ceiling, and what a ceiling!

    Also, I hope he holds on to the spike curve even though he is developing a power curve. A curveball with two different speeds has to mess with a hitter’s head.

  7. keith says:

    Referencing my comment about today’s lineup in the previous post…

    “Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon are flip-flopping lineup spots for the remainder of the spring, and if the experiment goes well, the Yankees may stay with Jeter in the leadoff spot and Damon in the two-hole during the regular season. The switch evolved by accident. Damon has been hitting in second with Jorge Posada leading off, because Girardi wanted the catcher to get more at-bats during the spring. But Girardi said Damon comfortable enough the new lineup that it was worth exploring the switch.”

    • A.D. says:

      very interesting development

      • Bryan Hoch cosigned that in his Twitterfeed.

        Also says that the plan is for CC to pitch the season opener in Baltimore and then have him lined up to pitch the home opener against Cleveland on the 16th, meaning our earlier speculation matches the teams plan (and that the guys will be going on three days rest during that second turn in the rotation):

        Mon Apr 6 – @BAL: Sabathia
        Tue Apr 7 –
        Wed Apr 8 – @BAL: Wang
        Thu Apr 9 – @BAL: Burnett
        Fri Apr 10 – @KC: Pettitte
        Sat Apr 11 – @KC: Sabathia (Joba skipped)
        Sun Apr 12 – @KC: Wang
        Mon Apr 13 – @TB: Burnett
        Tue Apr 14 – @TB: Pettitte
        Wed Apr 15 – @TB: Joba
        Thu Apr 16 – Home Opener CLE: Sabathia
        Fri Apr 17 – CLE: Wang
        Sat Apr 18 – CLE: Burnett
        Sun Apr 19 – CLE: Pettitte
        Mon Apr 20 – OAK: Joba
        Tue Apr 21 – OAK: Sabathia
        Wed Apr 22 – OAK: Wang
        Thu Apr 23 –

        • andrew© says:

          I guess the Joba innings limit is already coming into effect… hopefully not pitching in a game for 10+ days doesn’t hurt him at all

        • jon says:

          April 6 at Baltimore: Sabathia
          April 8 at Baltimore: Wang
          April 9 at Baltimore: Burnett
          April 10 at Kansas City: Pettitte
          April 11 at Kansas City: Sabathia
          April 12 at Kansas City: Chamberlain
          April 13 at Tampa Bay: Wang
          April 14 at Tampa Bay: Burnett
          April 15 at Tampa Bay: Pettitte
          April 16 vs. Cleveland: Sabathia
          April 17 vs. Cleveland: Chamberlain
          April 18 vs. Cleveland: Wang
          April 19: vs. Cleveland: Burnett
          April 20: vs. Oakland: Pettitte
          April 21: vs. Oakland: Sabathia
          April 22: vs. Oakland: Chamberlain
          April 24 at Boston: Wang
          April 25 at Boston: Burnett
          April 26 at Boston: Pettitte

    • Joe R says:

      Happened by accident, or by reading RAB? Hmmm…

    • Whozat says:

      That’s awesome, actually!

    • rbizzler says:

      Nomaas is quick to point out that Cash reads their site. Maybe this is evidence of the Yanks perusing some other sites (ahem, RAB, ahem)to see if the plebes have any insight that they may have overlooked.

      • AndrewYF says:

        You honestly think that the Yankees haven’t noticed Jeter’s infuriating tendency to hit into double-plays?

        Although, if they had noticed, you’d think they would have done the switch years ago.

        • rbizzler says:

          Calm down there fella,it is not a SF that you are dealing with on this site.

          As far as Jeter and his DP’s are concerned, the case for a switch runs a little deeper than that. I am indeed sure that the Yanks have noticed that he has hit into more DP’s in recent years, but this is the first time they have actually considered addressing it.

          refresher for you:

          Mostly, I was just having a little fun. Sorry to not bring the ‘doom and gloom’ enough for you.

        • steve (different one) says:

          Although, if they had noticed, you’d think they would have done the switch years ago.

          but it wasn’t a problem “years ago”.

          it is a recent problem.

    • Mattingly's Love Child says:

      It has been pretty clear this offseason that the business side of the Yankees doesn’t give a rats-ass about the plebes. I’d love to think the baseball side is more open, but I’m inclined to doubt that they saw this idea on RAB.

      Either way, it is very encouraging that the team is actually looking more objectively at their players and not automatically giving in to sentiment or habit(maybe a sign of things to come when moving Jeter out of SS). Of course Jeter may end up back in the 2-spot because of what is comfortable for him or Damon, but at least they are trying it out!

      • rbizzler says:

        I hear you on the business side, although they seemed to have softened a bit in recent weeks. Opening the gates early enough for home BP and, at least, acknowledging the surrounding Bronx community is a start.

        I don’t really get all that worked up about ticket and stadium issues as I haven’t lived in the NY metro area for 10+ years and get to a game or two a year. Hopefully, some of the poor fan treatment that used to come part and parcel with a Yankee game was put to bed with OYS closing. It was a bit sickening to see ushers treat people like shit, being that they were, you know, ushers and all, whose job it is to show people to their seats.

        As far as the baseball side is concerned, one would hope that they consider all options and forms of analysis, but we have seen a few poor ideas come down the pipe in the past. At the very least, this indicates that they are willing to be flexible and give some out-of-the-box (I use this term loosely) ideas a shot.

    • Rob in CT says:


      As for why they’re doing it… I don’t really care. I like that they are doing it at all. It shows flexibility.

      • andrew© says:

        Yea… the reason most of us thought it wouldn’t happen wasjust because Damon and Jeter were too entrenched in their roles, it’s good to see they are willing to think outside the box a little bit.

  8. “Hughes retired the side in order in the fifth when pitching coach Scott Aldred told him to throw first pitch changeups to every batter he faced in the inning.”

    Wait, Scott Aldred? Career 6.02 ERA Scott Aldred?

    Man, that whole “bad baseball players make good coaches” thing really is true, huh?

  9. JohnC says:

    Has anyone seen Damon Sublett play? I hear he is a pretty good hitter and seems more suited for 2nd base than SS. Will be at Trenton this season or back in Tampa?

  10. [...] The long reliever candidates battled it out but the team might not carry one anyway. Phil Hughes is continuing to work on his changeup in the minors and CC Sabathia already looks like he’s in mid-season form. Alex Rodriguez is [...]

  11. [...] Hughes focusing on changeup in minor league camp / Opening day order?  [...]

  12. [...] in an effort to boost his repertoire in anticipation of returning to the rotation. Of course, we’ve heard this before. During his bullpen session yesterday, Hughes threw about a dozen changeups (40 pitches total), and [...]

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