Hughes to begin rehab assignment next week

Millwood throws seven innings for Triple-A Scranton
Game 17: New York South

Update (4:56pm): Via Mark Feinsand and Erik Boland, Hughes threw his extended bullpen session this afternoon and as of now, the plan is for him to start a minor league game this coming Thursday. He will be limited to five or so innings in that start. So I guess that means everything went well this afternoon.

Original Post (10:00am): Via Chad Jennings, Phil Hughes had his scheduled bullpen session rained out along with the game yesterday, and instead had to settle for regular old long toss. The right-hander will instead throw the 45-pitch bullpen session today (simulating three 15-pitch innings) and is hopeful that pitching coach Larry Rothschild will give him the okay to start a rehab assignment next week.

“Larry will kind of be the judge of that based on how my bullpen looks and how I feel bouncing back after long toss and throwing,” said Phil. “If I feel fine and [he] sees enough out of me in the pen and feels like I’m ready to go, then I should be ready for a start.” The Yankees haven’t clocked his fastball during any of his bullpens simply because the adrenaline isn’t there like it is in a game. Rehab assignments last a maximum of 30 days before the player must be activated from the DL, but they could always find another “injury” and restart the clock. It goes without saying that the Yankees have to take their time and make sure Hughes is right, even if he’s out until June or later.

Millwood throws seven innings for Triple-A Scranton
Game 17: New York South
  • Accent Shallow

    If he comes back strong, I don’t think they need another starter at the deadline.

    • Matt Imbrogno


      • radnom

        Its almost like people completely forget the 00s. Mashing your way to the playoffs with 1.5 reliable pitchers is not a recipe for postseason success. Sure they could still get hot at the right time, but I want to see them get another starter if at all possible.

    • zs190

      Colon and Garcia have had 1 good start each, they are both old and have a history of injuries and haven’t been good for years, suddenly we are ready to say that we don’t need a better starter now?

    • todd Souphinousinphone

      Is the rehab start in Trenton?

  • OldYanksFan

    Are they clocking his BP throws?
    If he still can’t hit 92, is a rehab start good for his ‘dead arm’?
    I know nothing about this, but it seems like ‘arm rest’ and overall strength and conditioning is called for.

    • Slu

      FTFA: “The Yankees haven’t clocked his fastball during any of his bullpens simply because the adrenaline isn’t there like it is in a game.”

      I ain’t a long article.

    • zs190

      They are not and he’s on record for saying that he really does not want them to have radar gun in the bullpen because it would frustrate him more. He believes that without game-time adrenaline, it’s hard to keep velocity up.

      • NDR

        The Yankees probably have a good reason for not using a radar gun in Hughes BP sessions, but not wanting to frustrate him because he doesn’t have his game time adrenaline is a poor one. A velocity increase in BP sessions is probably one sign that Hughes is recovering, so they should use a radar gun if they think it is useful, Hughes feelings of frustration be damned.

        • NJ_Andy

          Disagree here. The last thing you want is Hughes getting frustrated and thinking about trying to throw harder. You want him to feel relaxed, to have an easy delivery. If he’s thinking about it too much, nothing will look good.

          • NDR

            Maybe the Yankees can help him relax by not showing his pitch speeds during home games.

  • SodaPopinski

    That is a silly comment about adrenaline. I call BS on that one. Throwing a ball is a pretty technique oriented skill. I’d imagine most pitchers throw the hardest when they’re relaxed, and can let it rip with their best full body mechanics.

  • Drew

    This whole situation has me very uneasy. I don’t understand the reason to not clock him in the pen. You don’t know if you’re making progress or not. The “hey lets just throw him out in a game and hope he’s better” approach is stupid.

    • Zack

      You don’t know if you’re making progress or not.

      Hughes said that after 40 pitches his arm felt dead, if he’s out there in his bullpen session going 50-60-70 without that feeling, then he knows he’s making progress.

      • Drew

        But we are worried more about his velocity than anything else. No velocity = 13 ERA

        • NJ_Andy

          Nah. We’re more concerned about his inability to last 5-6 innings and win games. The velo is a symptom. If he can’t throw hard because of ‘dead arm,’ that’s the problem. It also seems to have impacted his control, which is equally troubling.

        • Zack

          I think the dead arm feeling is more important than velocity. What’s 92-93 worth if he’s exhausted after 40 pitches?

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I don’t understand the reason to not clock him in the pen. You don’t know if you’re making progress or not.

      That’s probably not true at all. I’m sure there’s oodles of things they can be evaluating for progress or green shoots (like foot plant, trunk rotation, arm slot, pain/fatigue response after each pitch and the whole session, location, etc.) that don’t involve measuring velocity.

      Decrease in velocity can come from all sorts of causes; there’s no huge need to have the gun on every single bullpen session.

      And there’s a big reason not to have the gun; sometimes you don’t want immediate results feedback as it can have an undue influence on the pitcher’s effort/mindset. Maybe good velocity masks an unfixed problem; maybe bad velocity causes Hughes to get more down on himself and further sets him back mentally.

  • YankeeDave

    This whole “dead arm” thing is very troubling. I mean, this is not late August and his arm is worn out, this is the start of the season! Did he not get enough rest during the off-season? What does every other major league pitcher do?

    I only hope that they straighten this out and Phil gets back on track, even if it takes a month or two. Yes, Colon and Garcia have surprised everyone so far, and it would be great if they kept it up (until mid-season when we could trade for an established arm), but let’s be realistic. The best we can hope for is that Phil gets it back together and we put all of this behind us.

    • Jerome S.

      He pitched, like, way moar innings last year than he ever had in his life.

  • Gonzo

    Gotta say, this makes not extending him look smart. Same with Wang.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      Cashman has a good read when it comes to that.

  • Bpdelia

    Yes he pitched more innings but lots of guys do that all the time without getting dead arms and losing 3 time 5 mph. Theres no way to spin this aside from extremely disturbing. This innings increase thing is getting silly. Guys used too do this all the time.

    • S

      And some guys do….the list of young starters who get injured and/or lose velocity the season after a huge innings jump is far longer than the list of guys who don’t.

      • Hogan

        It is? Because you say so? Can you provide a list?

        • S

          Its called the verducci effect smartass…read up on it

        • Jerome S.

          Verducci Effect [ Return To Top ]
          Named for Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, this is a negative forward indicator for pitcher workload. Verducci, who called this the ‘Year After Effect,’ found that pitchers under the age of 25 who have 30-inning increases year over year tend to underperform. Will Carroll independently found that pitchers who break the “Rule of 30” tend to get injured. Carroll renamed this ‘rule’ the Verducci Effect in honor of the man who initially found the evidence.

    • Jerome S.

      guys used too do this all the time

      We also used to believe that throwing complete games every time out was good, too. And that smoking cigarettes had it’s upside also.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Makes you look cool and sophisticated.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      Different era when guys back then used to do it.

  • Doug

    “It goes without saying that the Yankees have to take their time and make sure Hughes is right, even if he’s out until June or later.”

    agreed, but i just don’t see this happening

  • bklyn

    The Yankee need to be really careful with how they handle this. If Hughes makes a rehab start and doesnt have that velocity, then hughes is gointto have a major metal let down. alot of these young pitchers, especially in high pressure teams, are greatly affected by their confidence.

  • the great balbinio

    What’s up with the Yankee development of pitching? There’s been so many red flags with Joba and Hughes recently that I have little to no faith in their plans to develop young arms. I’m far from an expert on pitching, but logic suggests that Hughes hasn’t thrown enough this year to experience a dead arm. Add to that, all the work Joba did, on his own mind you, on keeping his arms lower in his wind-up to increase his performance. Shouldn’t advice and adjustments like that be made by the coaching staff and not be the responsibility of the pitcher himself? Should we just blame Eiland and be done with it, or does it just go back to the need to rush these kids to the show before they made their bones in the minors? I’ve got to imagine there’s a lot that goes into being ready to pitch every 5th day through the season and through the off-season. Is it just maturity issues and the “learning on the fly” that we forced on these kids or is there a real need to change the organization’s developmental philosophies?

    • Jerome S.

      I blame society.

      • Andy in NYC

        I blame A-Rod.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          I blame Obama.

          Luke Scott

          • Pat D

            I blame Luke Scott.

            Not for this specifically, but for everything in general.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      When it comes to the Yankees and developing pitching there always seem to be an issue whether it’s the fault of the team or player. The Yankees don’t take 100% of the blame there were/are things that Joba and Hughes need to work on based on the fact that they are so young. We all understand that development takes times and it can be a grueling process watching kids struggle but shouldn’t these kids be further along than they are. Outside of a bp stint and the first half of last yr Phil has been up and down. While Joba is holding down the 7th inning. No neither one of them should be leading the ML in Wins, ERA, and strikeouts or collecting back to back Cy Young awards but no one can sit here and tell me that this process has gone well.

  • JC

    Why not put the gun in the bp sessions and don’t let Phil know the results?

    • NJ_Andy

      It’s likely they’re doing that, but if Phil can’t know the results than how would we, the fans, be privy to this information?

      What’s Cashman going to do, “Hey, listen, I’ll give you guys at the Post a hot tip as long as you don’t share it with Hughes.”

  • Greg Corcoran

    Here’s my prediction for Hughes. Phil Hughes will struggle. This is going to be a difficult season for him since he pitched 176 innings last season + 15.2 more in the playoffs. up from just 106.1 the previous season. This type of jump in innings has been known to cause a significant fall-off, or worse, a significant injury, in the following year. We’re talking about an 85 inning increase here. They need to be real careful will Phil this year to prevent a major injury. I don’t see him finishing the season with numbers as good as last years. I just hope that Cashman is patient with him, knowing that this is often how pitchers naturally develop, especially after a season where he saw an unnatural progression of innings pitched. It’s gonna be a tough year for Phil. I hope this long-toss and strengthening program works for him, but it seems like a long shot. I say let the guy pitch it out, whether it be in the majors or in AAA. Decrease his innings a little bit from last year, and get him ready for a return to prominence in 2012.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      (thinks back to the 2010 spring training battle between Phil and Joba and wonders again if the Yankees made the best decision for both the short-term impact and the long-term repercussion)

      • Matt Imbrogno

        You know what the worst part is? There was an easy way to have them both be starting by season’s end. I just…sigh. There just HAS to be something wrong enough w/Joba’s shoulder that they don’t think he could hold up for 200+ innings. That is the only reason I can think of at this point.

        • Steve H

          And as Feliz goes on the DL with a shoulder injury, I still don’t know that relieving is any healthier for you than starting. Who’s had more wear and tear on his arm this year, Dry Hump D-Rob or CC?

          • Matt Imbrogno

            Yep, that too.

  • Polonia

    I believe Hughes’s struggles are going to lead him to the same fate that came upon pitchers with similar experience, such as Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Justin Verlander. Anyone remember them?

    • Pat D

      A trio of bums if I ever heard of one.

  • Forensicnucchem

    Shouldn’t the bullpen session be more like two 22-pitch innings instead? Afterall, this is Phil Hughes we’re talking about here.

    • Steve H

      And 19 pitches from the stretch.