When the Yanks placed Phil Hughes on the disabled list on Friday with what the team is terming a “dead arm,” we originally reported the move as a demotion. Initial reports had Hughes heading to AAA to work on his stuff, but those were subsequently deemed false. It seems though that they weren’t too far off the mark: The Yanks were going to send Phil Hughes to the minors before the pitcher intervened.
According to a George A. King III report in The Post today, Hughes’ own reticence kept him in the Bronx but on the shelf. The club was going to send him down, but Hughes didn’t feel more pitching would help his velocity woes. King writes, “Hughes couldn’t exactly say what the problem was, but he didn’t believe continuing to pitch — even in the minors — was the right way to inject life into his dead right arm.” Hughes himself talked in more guarded tones. “After 30 pitches, there was nothing there. I felt like a reliever who had thrown four straight days,” he said.
Clearly, that’s not what you want to hear from your 24-year-old right-hander who was lined up to be the team’s third starter this year. Hughes, who had no tests done before the DL trip, will start a long-toss program soon with an eye toward building up arm strength. It’s worth noting that Phil’s 192 innings last year were a career high by a significant amount. Hopefully, this truly is only a dead arm.