Jul
13

Hughes getting back to basics for Sunday’s start

By

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

There has been something lacking from Phil Hughes‘s game lately. The focus for the past couple of years has been on his changeup, a perpetually in-development pitch, but the problem is greater than that. I’ll refer you back to the Baseball America Prospect Handbook 2007, which featured Hughes on the cover and rated him the Yankees No. 1 prospect (and, later, the No. 4 prospect in all of baseball):

Hughes’ greatest accomplishment as a pro has been to forsake his slider in favor of a knockout curveball, which is more of a strikeout pitch and produces less stress on his arm. It’s a true power breaking ball that sits in the low 80s with 1-to-7 break. Club officials call it the best in the system because Hughes can throw it for quality strikes or bury it out of the zone, and because he uses the same arm slot and release point he uses for his fastball.

The last time we saw anything that resembled a knockout curve from Hughes was back in May, 2007, when he was working on a no-hitter against Texas. With two strikes on Mark Teixeira, Hughes reached back and tried to bury one of those curveballs, but he flubbed the landing. The ball sailed inside, and Hughes limped around the mound. He hasn’t been the same since.

One of the bigger changes Hughes implemented since then was a new grip on his curveball. Instead of the 1-to-7 power curve, he employed a knuckle grip, a la Mike Mussina and A.J. Burnett. It has worked from time to time, but overall it hasn’t been anything close to the knockout pitch that he displayed while mowing down the minors in 2006. In today’s New York Post, Mark Hale helps shed light on the issue.

Essentially, Hughes finally realized what everyone else had seen: the knuckle grip just wasn’t working. He tried to make it work, by speeding up his arm, but no matter what he did the pitch was average at best, and it although I’m not a scout I’m fairly certain that a good number would call it below average. He did throw it both for strikes and in the dirt, but in the zone it seemed a bit flat, and in the dirt it didn’t fool anyone — “It never looks like a strike,” Hughes said. And so, on Sunday he will likely re-implement the original grip. “It’s a lot more like a power curveball now,” said Hughes.

Another interesting change Hughes has worked on this week: changing his mechanics. We often hear about changes in mechanics, and most times it means nothing. But when it comes to his plant leg, eyebrows raise. That’s the hamstring he pulled on that night in Texas, the night he showed so much promise. Hughes acknowledges that the issues could stem from that incident, too. “I just felt like over the years, basically starting from my hamstring injury, I’ve kind of formed a couple of bad habits,” he said. That he’s consciously working to correct these bad habits is certainly encouraging.

This type of story is usually reserved for spring training, a time of hopes and dreams for the upcoming season. To see it in the middle of the season is somewhat odd, but inspiring at the same time. Essentially, Hughes is admitting that many of his issues stem from the injury that cost him most of the 2007 season. If he can get back to the pitcher he was before that, with both his mechanics and his curveball, he could yet turn into the pitcher who, according to Baseball America, had the “combination of stuff, feel and command to profile as a No. 1 starter.”

Categories : Pitching
  • https://twitter.com/#!/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

    So…

    yay?

    • TCMiller30

      be prepared to have your mind blown

      • The Golden Thong

        By how much he still sucks?

        • johnnybk

          Hope not. Just out of curiosity though, what in your mind makes him not suck? Totally arbitrary, but would say 9-4 3.85 do it?

          • The Big City of Dreams

            I think some Yankee fans have reached the point where they’re tired of hearing about Hughes’ potential. He’s been talked about for yrs do it feels like he’s been here forever.

  • TCMiller30

    If he somehow comes back with this new power curve and just embarrasses hitters with it, it will be both exciting and very frustrating. It’ll be cool because it could bring him back to being a very good/promising young pitcher but frustrating know that the past 3 years could have been so easily fixed with 2 small changes..

    Hopefully it works out! Go Phil!!

    • Mike HC

      I don’t see it that way exactly, as I alluded to below. Hughes needed to make those changes to be the contributor he ended up being for the Yanks in the pen and then rotation. From the second half of last year, and now into this year, it was obvious he needed to make tweaks again to remain effective. Which he is doing.

  • Mike HC

    You always have to look to improve. The changes Hughes made that were necessary to be successful early in his career, might need to be changed again for the next stage of his career. This is a reason that I have always been a fan of Hughes. He seems open to add new pitches (cutter), new grips (knuckle curve), etc … in order to be successful. I believe that he will be able to implement these new tweaks relatively fast and effective.

    • 7commerce

      Yes, but his progress has not been steady–after nearly 5 yrs, he is at rock bottom. Maybe staying w/ his early stuff & developing a + CU would have been more intelligent.

      • Mike HC

        In 2009, he pitched 86 innings with a 3.03 era and 1.12 whip. In 2010, he pitched 176.1 innings with a 4.19 era and 1.25 whip. The changes he made turned him into a successful major league pitcher and major contributor to a WS championship team and a ALCS finish.

        He started to struggle in the second half of last season after pitching more innings in a season than he had in a long time. Came into this year throwing in the 80’s, pitched one start with his velocity back, and are now making the changes. Seems like the Yanks had the right mix of patience and urgency here before they started messing with his mechanics and pitches.

        • The Golden Thong

          You can’t lump in relieving and starting. They’re entirely different.

          I have little doubt that Hughes could contribute right now out of the pen. I have extreme doubt that he’ll ever be a league average starter.

          He gets hurt and his stuff deteriorates the more he pitches.

          • Mike HC

            The point was that he made the changes he did in order to be successful in the role he was given. Both 2009 and 2010, he was effective and a major part of two winning teams (WS and ALCS). This is the first year where it has not gone well and they are making the necessary changes now. I don’t see this idea where Hughes has sucked for years and never helped the team out at all. He has been very good for two years.

            • The Golden Thong

              2/3’s of his 2010 were not good. Check the monthly splits.

              2009 he was a reliever. That’s very different. I would welcome moving him back to the pen. That would be much better than another trade for a useless bullpen arm.

              • Mike HC

                Which is a major part of the reason why he is tweaking his mechanics and pitches now. Hughes was so dominant as a starter early on in 2010, I don’t think anybody here was calling for him to re learn his old curve and change his pitching mechanics. Because of those struggles in the second half, they are making the necessary changes now. If you think they should have done something at the end of 2010, right before the playoffs, then that is your opinion, but that seems too rash of a move to make at the time to me.

                If you think he should have never changed his mechanics and pitches at all, then the years he had in 2009 and 2010 (even with his struggles, he was still pretty good overall on the year) might not have ever happened.

                • The Golden Thong

                  Now you’re changing your story. He didn’t have two good seasons. He had two good months as a starter.

                  He struggled for four months in 2010. He could have easily made this change at this exact same time last year. The league hit .303/.341/.467 off him in June of 2010.

                  He was only good on the year because April and May were such outliers.

                  • Mike HC

                    I don’t think I am changing my story. I have acknowledged Hughes struggles in the second half from the get go.

                    Obviously, in hindsight, the Yanks should have made those changes immediately after he struggled, like you point out. But at the time, due to his extreme dominance early in the season, and wanting to limit his innings and not overwork his arm, it was more than reasonable to allow him to work through those struggles and not start messing with everything. Once it started to become really obvious that the struggles might be a bit more permanent, we were already toward the end of the season heading into the playoffs, and more notably, trying to limit Hughes innings. It was not the best time to start changing mechanics and bringing old pitches back, after throwing more innings than you had in your career, and far more than you had in a couple of years.

                    Just my take.

          • johnnybk

            His arm didn’t fall off. He’s gonna be fine.

      • Ted Nelson

        “Maybe staying w/ his early stuff & developing a + CU would have been more intelligent.”

        Phil Hughes can’t go back and re-write history any more than you or I. All he can do is worry about today forward.

  • I Voted 4 Kodos

    I hope he hasn’t lost the feel for his old curve. If he can get it back in a reasonable amount of time, it could be a huge development for the second half of they year.

  • Donnie23

    If everyone knew that the new grip wasn’t cutting it, why did it take 3 years to change it?

    He’s also got to say good bye to that cutter. It’s not a good pitch.

    • MannyGeee

      disagree. that cutter is not a good pitch when he throws it 80% of the time. when he can mix it in, it can be extremely effective.

      • RaeGun

        This.

        If the power curve does return, then one good thing that came out of the ‘knuckle curve-era’ of Hughes’ career is that he added a cutter, that while not be his best pitch, is an effective third pitch to mix in from time to time.

  • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

    Can it really be something that simple? All that money, all those coaches, all those scouts. . .and it’s really just something that simple? Really? Four fucking years no one has suggested this? Color me skeptical. Incredibly so.

    • MikeD

      I’m with you. Then again, I was skeptical last August that a few sessions with Kevin Long could change Granderson’s swing against lefties. Sometimes my skepticism is proved wrong. I hope it is here, too.

      • The Golden Thong

        The difference is Long had a track record of actually improving hitters.

        Who’s the Yankee pitching coach or “guru” with the same? Who in the Yankee org gets credit for the cascade of prospects filling their rotation and bullpen right now?

        • CS Yankee

          You do know we have a new pitching coach and he has a great rep. This new PC has also helped our SPers perform to a top 5-6 rotation in all of baseball.

          Golden Thong, meet Larry Rothchild.

          • The Golden Thong

            How does he help the backlog of AAA/AA prospects get MLB innings?

            • CS Yankee

              I’m guessing about the same as Kevin Long does with hitters.

        • MannyGeee

          welll, you cannot discount Rothchild’s work with AJ this season. he has not been superbad AJ yet, and his implosions have been relatively minor this season. not quite 2009 version, but not 2010 Abortion Edition either…

          Give Rothschild a chance to work with Hughes in the same light, because he really cannot be worse.

        • MikeD

          I’m not sure if your last sentence was meant as sarcasm or just wasn’t properly constructed, because by asking who in the Yankee organization “gets credit for the cascade of prospects filling their rotation and bullpen right now,” you are implying someone (or multiple) have done a good job. If it wasn’t meant as sarcasm, you are correct. By having pitchers named Hughes, Joba, Nova, Robertson, Noesi all contributing on the big league level says a lot. This would not have happened throughout most of the 2000s because the Yankees rarely had prospects that they could even develop. Add in others like IPK and Coke that they’ve used for trades, and a load of back-end prospects in AAA (Warren, Phelps, etc.) and higher-end prospects in AA with Dellin and Manny, and it’s clear their farm system development has come a long was over the past few years.

          There are many people on the minor league level who have helped on the development side, with probably Nardi Contreras, their minor league pitching coordinator, being key. MikeA or JoeP might have a more clear answer on that front.

          Now it is possible they do a good job at developing pitchers on the minor league level (actually, it’s not even a question of late, they do!), but not continuing that development on the MLB level. Some could point to Hughes and Joba not fully living up to the hype as evidence. I’m not sure I buy it, especially since we know Joba’s issues were caused by slipping on the mound avoiding a throw from Ivan Rodriquez, falling and jamning his shoulder. He lost three mph off his fastball after that day, and it has not returned. That’s not a development issue. That, unfortunately, is baseball.

          We should recognize that we may have the equivalent of Kevin Long on the MLB level in Larry Rothschild, who does have a history of improving pitchers. I certainly have no complaints on how the Yankees starters have done under Rothschild this year. Hughes is the one question mark, and he’s only just started working with him, and I think it’s pretty likely that Rothschild has been reviewing video of early Hughes and later Hughes and is behind the move to try and get Phil to go back to his old grip and power curve.

          • The Golden Thong

            On the MLB staff right now, there are exactly three pitchers developed under Cashman in 14 years.

            Hughes.
            Noesi.
            Robertson.

            The treatment of Hughes and Noesi speaks more of their ability as an organization than that of Robertson. Noesi, by the time the year is up, will have thrown no more than 60 innings. Hughes will have received at least 10 starts and will be very lucky to get his ERA under 6.

            Who do you want to give credit for that “success” again?

            • johnnybk

              Why will he be”lucky” to get his era under 6? He has never had an era of 6, so what do you know that we don’t? That he “sucks”?

              I want Phil to succeed because it will be good for the Yankees, but making you and your bullshit disappear is a nice fringe benefit.

              • The Golden Thong

                Do the math on IP and ER.

  • Yank The Frank

    And the beat goes on…

  • MikeD

    It’s taken four years to go back to the grip that gave him his power curve? I understand why he (and I’m sure the Yankee pitching coaches) were open to the idea of him changing his grip, but seems to me one of them should have realized since 2007 that it just wasn’t working as well as the previous grip.

    Let’s hope it works. His velocity also isn’t quite what it was when he was in AA.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder
    • Crime Dog

      *golf clap*

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Seriously, Leiter’s words are critical here.

        This post has been up for a few minutes, and the majority of early responses have been variations on “Hughes should have never tinkered with his pitches/grips/mechanics” or “Why didn’t he make this decision a long time ago”.

        Shit’s not that simple, people, particularly without the benefit of hindsight that you’re all employing right now.

        Every pitcher tinkers with their pitches/grips/mechanics, all the time. It’s a constant process to try and improve the quality of your stuff or find a less physically stressful way of delivering a pitch to improve arm strength and health. Some of those tinkers work, some don’t. Some tinkers take years to master, some have to be scrapped.

        Shit, 10 years from now, Phil Hughes’s best pitch might be one he hasn’t even learned yet. It’s a lifelong battle of experimentation, trial and error, success, failure, and going back to the drawing board.

        For good pitchers, bad pitchers, excellent pitchers, mediocre pitchers, young pitchers, old pitchers, ALL pitchers.

        Thinking that a pitcher should have figured something out by a certain date/time/incidence of success or failure doesn’t speak to the nature of the constant struggle to master a repeatable, effective, and deceptive motion of a fundamentally unnaturally violent biomechanical action.

        • The Golden Thong

          10 years from now Hughes will be out of baseball.

          Four years of injuries and ineffectiveness have removed whatever sheen he once had – that is for all who aren’t wearing pinstriped glasses.

          • Crime Dog

            Mariano Rivera in 1995.

            Success can occur after years of failure. Things happen. Pitches improve, Velocity can be regained. Give the guy a break.

            • The Golden Thong

              So in this thread alone Hughes will either turn out to be Clemens or Rivera.

              Good to know.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                No one said either of those things.

              • Crime Dog

                I now have images of a Phil Hughes trial in 2024 with Joba playing the role of Andy

              • MikeD

                Actually, you’re the one who has taken extreme position, ignoring the middle.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            10 years from now Hughes will be out of baseball.

            Ten years from now 75% of the guys in the big leagues will be out of baseball. Way to go out on the limb.

            • Crime Dog

              And Mo will still be around

            • The Golden Thong

              Someone here has to state the obvious. Otherwise, you have folks who think all we need is patience for the next decade.

              • Ted Nelson

                Or folk who realize that Hughes just turned 25 years old a few weeks ago… either way.

          • MannyGeee

            Cliff Lee called. He wanted to know how his ass tastes

          • MikeD

            You do realize that Hughes was dominant out of the pen in 2009, a key member of the 2009 World Series team, and in 2010 in won 18 games in a year he started as the #5 starter, pitched 176 innings, giving up less hits than innings, while striking out 7.5 batters per nine innings, only walked 58 batters, and made the All-Star team? Is that the ineffectiveness you’re talking about? Or is that he hasn’t turned out to be Tom Seaver?

            • The Golden Thong

              I’m not arguing with 2009. If he can be effective in any role, it’s that.

              Check the monthly splits in 2010. From June on he was below average every month. He also gave up 25 HRs in those 176 innings.

              • Ted Nelson

                No one is disagreeing with you about Hughes’ history… just about your point that what one does at 22 or 24 years old is one’s absolute ceiling and one cannot improve from that point. That is where you start to look like a lunatic.

            • My Boy Blue

              He was also so bad in the 2009 post season he fell off the depth chart in favor of Joba who the organization had grown frustrated with as a starter. Hughes didn’t have a brilliant 2009 campaign. He had a good few months as a reliever and lost his stuff by the post season. Let’s not turn him into Mo setting up for Wettleland here.

              • Ted Nelson

                Small sample size much…

                No one is turning Hughes into anything. Just pointing out that not being the greatest thing ever by the time you turn 25 doesn’t mean you can’t improve. Mo himself didn’t even make his MLB debut until his 25 year old season… if he were held to the same standards as Phil he’d have been written off completely before he made MLB.

              • The Golden Thong

                Prepare for an uphill battle with this crowd.

        • Crime Dog

          This. Times 1000
          Pitchings hard, yo. I was a high school pitcher who could barely touch 85 and facing crappy high schoolers, I can’t imagine doing this as a job and facing constant criticsm for stinking up the joint occasionally (whether that criticism is fair or unfair is besides the point).

          Hughes should be neither applauded nor lambasted for this: He’s merely doing his job in trying to be a successful MLB pitcher

          • The Golden Thong

            And so he hasn’t been trying the last four years?

            Meanwhile, trying doesn’t bring back his missing velo.

            • Crime Dog

              So what do you suggest? All I’ve seen from you is negatives on other arguements, I want to hear your thoughts on Hughes. Are you a Nova over Hughes guy? Hughes to the pen, or AAA?

              Not being an ass, just geniunely interested.

              • The Golden Thong

                1. Move Hughes to the pen.
                2. Move Garcia/Colon to the pen.
                3. DFA Mitre.
                4. Nova to start.
                5. Noesi to start.

                Hughes stays healthy. Garcia is the long man spot starter. Nova and Noesi perform or are replaced by Phelps, Warren, Mitchell.

                There’s little point to all of these back end prospects if you don’t test them. Both Nova and Noesi have shown enough.

                • Crime Dog

                  A rotation of CC/AJ/Colon/Nova/Noesi or Hughes/Garcia has a negligblle difference. I’m not gonna regard Colon moving to the pen as a legit possibility as that is bizonkers.

                  The organization thinks Hughes has a brighter future than Nova. And although I tend to agree there, it doesn’t really matter what we think. Right now, Hughes’ upside is getting play over Nova probably hitting his ceiling (I’m gonna catch some flak for that huh?)

                  • The Golden Thong

                    Well, Nova has clearly been better than Hughes this year (and Burnett’s equal).

                    Colon is about to throw more innings this year than he has in the last six. When his arm falls off, Nova is no longer a choice but a given.

                    Noesi is as much about this year as next year. The Yankees have to commit to developing their pitchers in majors or they’ll never develop. Noesi’s and Nova’s treatment shows exactly why the organization has no clue.

                    • Crime Dog

                      So why not use Colon until “his arm falls off”. He’s done everything to exceed expectations, why cant he continue to do so?

                    • The Golden Thong

                      Risk management. I’d rather have him than not.

                    • CP

                      What’s wrong with Nova’s treatment? I can see the argument about a lot of guys (even if I disagree), but what on earth did they do wrong with Nova?

                    • The Golden Thong

                      They sent Nova back to AAA for being the 3/4 best pitcher on the staff. Instead they kept two guys pitching on borrowed time, with no relationship to the 2012 Yankees, and another guy who has been much worse as a starter – this year and in his MLB career.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      “They sent Nova back to AAA for being the 3/4 best pitcher on the staff. Instead they kept two guys pitching on borrowed time, with no relationship to the 2012 Yankees, and another guy who has been much worse as a starter – this year and in his MLB career.”

                      Your points are just demonstrably false.

                      -Nova is in AAA… not Korea. Not even the bullpen. He’s still being developed to be a starting pitcher.
                      -Garcia and Colon both have ERAs that are a point lower than Nova’s this season.
                      -Nova’s 2011 is VERY similar to Hughes’ 2010 when he was also 24 years old.

                    • CP

                      -Nova is in AAA… not Korea. Not even the bullpen. He’s still being developed to be a starting pitcher.
                      -Garcia and Colon both have ERAs that are a point lower than Nova’s this season.
                      -Nova’s 2011 is VERY similar to Hughes’ 2010 when he was also 24 years old.

                      This is all true, but misses the most important point:

                      – Ivan Nova had options left

                      By sending him to AAA, they were able to keep all of their starters, so when one of them struggles/gets injured (which will most likely happen – we just don’t know who) they can call him up and he’ll be ready.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Yeah, but Hughes has options left too.

                • Ted Nelson

                  Nova is having a very similar season to Hughes’ 2010… You are the one who said relief and starting are totally different, yet you choose to contradict that statement with Noesi. Bravo.

                  Your plan is honestly to use DJ Mitchell as a starter and not Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colon?

                • The Golden Thong

                  AAA is not the majors.

                  Nova > Hughes, = Burnett

                  Nova did not get hit at a .303/.341/.467 in June. In fact, Nova was getting demonstrably better as the season wore on:
                  http://www.baseball-reference......038;t=p#rs

                  Unlike Hughes’ 2010, Nova wasn’t getting by with a gimmick pitch. He was actually developing.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    Wait… but when you were trying to prove that the Yankees are racist you said that Nova is not good. Man the Yankees must be a really bad team if none of their pitchers is good. They must be well below .500.

                    • The Golden Thong

                      So I refute each and every one of your points, and you got nothing, huh?

                      I win!

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Simply stating that in your opinion “Nova > Hughes, = Burnett” is not refuting anything…

                      You have not made one sound comment at any point in this thread.

                      You lose!

                    • The Golden Thong

                      And you ignore all evidence and offer none of your own.

                      The plain fact is, when it comes to starting pitching: Nova > Hughes.

                      Let’s see you use evidence to argue differently.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      I have shown you Hughes stats compared to Nova’s stats on several other threads.

                      We are also trying to predict the future here. Claiming that you can 100% predict the future is the reason people keep insulting your intelligence.

            • CS Yankee

              …and not trying will?

              • Crime Dog

                That’s how Cano’s done it. ZING

        • I Voted 4 Kodos

          Let’s also not forget that in the time frame in question, he’s had injury struggles, a year in which he simply blew people away out of the bullpen, a strong half season of starting, a half season in which he struggled, and more injuries. It’s not as if he’s been struggling for 4 years and refusing to make a change.

          • The Golden Thong

            So what makes you think he’ll stay healthy this time?

            • I Voted 4 Kodos

              Did I say that he would? That’s not even remotely close to what I said or the point to which I was responding. Perhaps you’d like to consider actually responding to what I said.

              • The Golden Thong

                Did I make a statement?

              • Jim S

                He doesn’t respond to anything anyone says. He just says “OK HOMER LOL” and repeats everything he already said until you want to bang your head through a wall. Ignore him.

                He was here under a different handle, but now that he’s shown his stripes, people can ignore him again.

        • China Joe

          Roger Clemens is a great example of this…he had been pitching in the bigs for over 10 seasons before he developed the splitter, which shot him to another level.

          (And I know some people are gonna bring up steroids, but the development of the splitter was a bigger deal for him. He always threw hard, but that put-away pitch made him untouchable.)

          • The Golden Thong

            Umm, Roger Clemens was also a legit phenom when he first came up and for those ten years he was also well on his way to the Coop.

            • China Joe

              but by ’97 he was considered over the hill and Boston decided not to pay him. He signed with the Blue Jays, developed the splitter and won back-to-back Cy Youngs

              • CP

                I would guess that the splitter had less to do with him finding the fountain of youth in 1997 than the fact that he… ummm… found the fountain of youth (so to speak).

            • China Joe

              but by ’96 he was considered over the hill and Boston decided not to pay him. He signed with the Blue Jays, developed the splitter and won back-to-back Cy Youngs

          • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

            Poor analogy. Developing a new pitch is not in the same stratosphere as going back to one you already had.

            • MannyGeee

              perfect analogy, because its a textbook exxample of ‘tinkering’. changing approaches, mechanics, and adding/removing pitches all counts as tinkering.

              • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

                Wrong, it’s an awful analogy, it’s apples to bowling balls.

                You really think going back and doing something you used to do is the same thing as developing something new altogether?

                Seriously?

                • Ted Nelson

                  Eh… it actually works as an analogy. The question is whether or not Hughes can improve by deploying a new pitch. It is irrelevant whether or not he threw that pitch 5 years ago. He has not been throwing it. He will start throwing it. In that sense it’s the same as Clemens, Schilling with the split, Wakefield and the knuckle ball, anyone who has developed a cutter (Mo, Haren, Halladay, etc.)…

                  Seriously?

                  • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

                    Wrong. It’s not a new pitch. He won’t start throwing it, he will throw it again.

                    You’re following me around the playground now, aren’t you Teddie? How cute.

                    I’m blushing.

                    Seriously, I am.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Has he thrown it in the last few years?

    • Rick in Boston

      I’m still waiting for the day Leiter throws down with Kay.

  • The Golden Thong

    Ah, yes the Great White Hope….still dishing out the same.

    I mean, why wait for four years to make a change?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Because pitching is a hard, inexact non-science, and because the knuckle grip had great potential to be better/safer/more effective and you’ve got to commit to it fully instead of just bailing the first second it doesn’t work, and because he’s had health issues in the midst of all that that make adding/subtracting a pitch not a feasible option, and because he spent part of that time as a reliever with a totally different pitching approach, etc. etc.

      There’s a million reasons why a pitcher would pick one pitch over another even when that choice doesn’t work. Developing and maintaining an effective pitch arsenal is a lifelong struggle for all but the top hundredth of the top one percent of pitchers ever.

      Pitching is fucking hard, man. Cut him some slack.

      • The Golden Thong

        Pitching is harder when you can’t stay healthy. His drop in velo from AA suggests he can’t handle the workload.

        Hughes has done little in his career to suggest he is or ever will be a starter long-term. If he sucks over the next two months, as he has the last four years as a starter, it’s time to move on.

        Why does Hughes get special credit? There are others in this organization deserving a chance and the Yankees haven’t moved them one step closer to being a starter next year. What, Scranton is goign to have an 8-man staff in 2012? Or they’re going to pull another awesome Nady/Kearns type trade.

        Hell, let’s move Phelps, Mitchell, and Warren for Aramis Ramirez!

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          WHY THE FUCK IS MY BURRITO TAKING THIS LONG TO COOK IN THIS MICROWAVE?!?!??!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!

          • The Golden Thong

            WHY THE FUCK CAN’T THE YANKEES DEVELOP PITCHING TALENT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

            • MidlandTX

              Just stop digging, man.

              • The Golden Thong

                Yeah, better to let Pollyanna rule the discussion.

                • MikeD

                  A how would a Tank or a Thong categorize the opposite of a Pollyanna?

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            Don’t even waste your time, man. You know who that is.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              Steve Lombardi?

              • CS Yankee

                No, his handle (i believe) refers to what is likely a soiled, smelly, stretched-out thong that Jason must have thrown him in 2008.

                • MannyGeee

                  You know, Teix is just like Giambi at throwing golden thongs, just with a betterr glove….

                  jus sayin

    • MikeD

      There are so many things wrong with the term “Great White Hope” here that I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

      • The Golden Thong

        You think Hughes would get this many chances if he were black or latino? The press would be calling him lazy.

        As it is, I’ve been waiting four years since that Texas start for Hughes to “go back to the basics”. What the hell took so long? That’s supposed to give me hope?

        Fool me once…

        • Jim S

          Ohhhhh. You’re from boston

          Carry on.

        • MannyGeee

          whaaaaaaa?

        • Ted Nelson

          “You think Hughes would get this many chances if he were black or latino?”

          Yes.

          • The Golden Thong

            When’s the last time the Yankees developed a Black or Latino starter?

            • CP

              Ivan Nova.

              • The Golden Thong

                Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

                1. He’s in AAA right now. That shows how much the Yankees think of him even as he’s been the 3/4 best on the staff this year.
                2. He’s got a 98 ERA+ in the majors.

                Just because he’s better than Hughes does not mean he’s been developed. He still has a long way to go.

                So, who else you got?

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                  Eduardo Nunez, Frankie Cervelli, Robinson Cano. The race card is weak, don’t play it because you’ll look like an idiot.

                  • The Golden Thong

                    The challenge was a starting pitcher. Can you name the last Black or Latino starting pitcher the Yankees have developed?

                    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                      So they’re only biased against black and Latino starting pitchers, but not position players? That make sense. They must be torn up inside that their two best pitchers are a black dude and a guy from Panama.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Does not developing a black or latino starting pitcher prove that an organization is racist? Still not seeing why it makes you look like an idiot?

                      Who is the last white starting pitcher the Yankees have developed? They must really hate white people too.

                      Since Wang is the only good starting pitcher the Yankees have developed from craddle to grave in a couple decades clearly they are a front organization for the Taiwanese government in a planned world take-over.

                      When the Yankees draft guys like Dellin Betances and DJ Mithcell or sign IFA starters it’s only to fetch water for the white starters, right?

                    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                      And it’s funny how now you’re changing your argument to discredit Nova after talking him up for weeks.

                    • The Golden Thong

                      Pitchers require a different level of patience, as we’ve seen and as we’re arguing about.

                      My original question was about what would happen if Hughes were a minority. I don’t think it’s a stretch, given his injuries and record, that he wouldn’t get as many chances in that case – all else being equal.

                      I suppose the challenge still stands. Who is the last Black of Latino starting pitcher that the Yankees have developed?

                      If you remember, Mariano didn’t get many chances either. If they had trusted him as a reliever in 1995, Showalter might still be the manager.

                    • CP

                      They must be torn up inside that their two best pitchers are a black dude and a guy from Panama.

                      I thought you said prospects, and I thought “Banuelos is Mexican.” Then I realized my mistake.

                      What I thought I read is still applicable though:

                      They must be torn up inside that their two best pitchering prospects are a black dude and a guy from Mexico.

                    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                      So Hughes is getting more chances because the Yankees are racist. Just come out and say it instead of trying to talk around it.

                      That’s laughable, especially since Nova was given a rotation spot down the stretch last Sept. and the team refuses to send Noesi down. There’s also Al Aceves. When’s the last time the Red Sox developed a black or latino starting pitcher? Rays? Tigers? White Sox? Phillies?

                    • The Golden Thong

                      You tell me, oh wise one, why Hughes is getting so many chances. His performance sure as hell doesn’t dictate it.

                      Let’s see, IPK was Whiny. Joba was Lazy. Why all the excuses for Hughes? Why send down a pitcher who was getting better the more he pitched this year?

                      Noesi is hardly a data point in your favor. Aceves too.

                      You tell me.

                      As to other teams, you bet it’s a Black QB thing. No doubt in my mind.

                      As for the Yankees, let’s see how the next three years go. If we’ve learned anything from the last three, they’ll sign Cain and Carpenter to a $80M deals.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      “Pitchers require a different level of patience, as we’ve seen and as we’re arguing about.”

                      You are the one who has decided that Phil Hughes can’t get any better after turning 25 a few weeks ago… and you’re saying pitchers require patience. You contradict your own points at a ridiculous rate. The few times you actually make logical points they stand in stark contrast with your entire argument… which should tell you something.

                      “My original question was about what would happen if Hughes were a minority. I don’t think it’s a stretch, given his injuries and record, that he wouldn’t get as many chances in that case – all else being equal.”

                      And I think it’s a huge stretch. Who cares what you or I think? Blindly calling racism any time a white person is promoted over a latino person makes you look like a fool. My grandmother and aunt live in Mexico and Spanish was my first language… but I’m a huge racist against Latinos if I don’t have a problem with sending Nova to AAA… heck Colon and Garcia are from DR and Venezuela… but they must also be racists.

                      “I suppose the challenge still stands. Who is the last Black of Latino starting pitcher that the Yankees have developed?”

                      I suppose my challenge still stands: who is the last white starter the Yankees developed?

                      Basically yhe Yankees top 4 pitching prospects right now are not “white”… Betances, Banuelos, Nova, and Noesi…

                      “If you remember, Mariano didn’t get many chances either.”

                      WOW… you really are nuts.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      “Let’s see, IPK was Whiny.”

                      IPK is white you fool.

                    • CP

                      Hughes is getting more chances because he has shown a better ability to miss bats (which is critical for success as a pitcher) than Nova.

                  • The Golden Thong

                    I’m not changing anything here. Nova deserves a rotation slot. But let’s not call him anything yet. He’s certainly not a proven developed starter from the Yankees. If anything, their treatment of him reeks of short-term thinking.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      So racism is determined entirely by the ultimate success of the players an organization develops?

                • Ted Nelson

                  Dude… get a grip. You have said that Nova is the Yankees’ 3rd best starter and whined about sending him to AAA when it suited your point, now you are flip-flopping and saying that Nova isn’t good? Which is it? Is he the 3rd best starting pitcher on a 53-35 team, or is he bad?

                  • The Golden Thong

                    I’m a realist.

                    Nova’s been league average. That’s fine but he needs to be in the majors to get better still.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      “I’m a realist.”

                      LOL

              • Jim S

                This is hysterically correct because Nova has pitched for us THIS YEAR.

                Also, not a starter, but Mo happens to be from Panama.

                Bringing race into this discussion was a desperate reach, even for Golden Sombrero/Tank/any other generic troll.

    • http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/ Xstar7

      “Ah, yes the Great White Hope….still dishing out the same.”

      What the hell does Larry Bird have to do with anything?

      • The Golden Thong

        Ha! Bird was good though. Top 10 All-time.

        Hughes is like Obama. All hope, no change.

        • http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/ Xstar7

          NO POLITICS!!!11!1!!1!!!1!1!1!1!!

        • MannyGeee

          Hughes is like Obama

          wait, I thought the arguement was about Hughes being white…

          #confused

        • Accent Shallow

          Come on, we saw Obama throw out the first pitch. Say what you will about Hughes, he’s certainly got better velo/command than the Commander-in-Chief.

  • duzzi23

    Hughes really needs to step up n take it to the next level. Why he ever changed his knockout curve to tht loopy lob shitty one is stupid. Hope he can improve n be nasty again.

    • The Fallen Phoenix

      I’m going to take a shot in the dark, but maybe Phil just didn’t gave a great experience blowing out his hamstring with his old curve.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

      Exactly.

      All this complicated, complex process stuff is horseshit. Not that it doesn’t have any place in pitching overall, but not when you’re talking about: “Hey, I had this otherwordly strikeout pitch and I was awesome, then I stopped using it and I wasn’t awesome. Then four years later I said, hey, you know what, maybe I should use that pitch again?”

      Give me a fucking break.

      Way I see it is Excuses, Excuses, Excuses.

      I’ve had enough with the Excuses/Potential/Expectations stuff with Hughes. You can’t be the Coach’s Son — as someone aptly dubbed him on here — forever. You need to produce and produce consistently.

      Enough with the drama.

      • The Golden Thong

        This.

        Pitch and STFU.

        It’s the organization’s job to judge what the hell to do with you.

        • Ted Nelson

          “Just hurl the ball at the catchers mit without thinking at all about how you are hurling it!” Makes sense.

          “The pitcher is not responsible for how he pitches, the organization is.” Another stellar point.

          There is only one part of your comment I agree with, and I will just say that it’s an acronym.

      • Jim S

        Not what Axisa said.

      • Ted Nelson

        Eh… what pitches you throw and how you throw them doesn’t just have a place in pitching… it IS pitching.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        You can’t be the Coach’s Son — as someone aptly dubbed him on here — forever.

        For what it’s worth, the person who dubbed him (and others) “the Coach’s Son has quickly established himself as a completely fucking insane lunatic who thinks Greg Golson is a better option than 2010 All Star OF Nick Swisher. I don’t think you want to be using his opinion on the matter to bolster your argument, it won’t work very well.

        —————————–

        Secondly, nobody here is saying that pitching being hard is an excuse or an absolution for Hughes’s struggles to this point. He has to own them just like anyone else.

        The point of bringing up Leiter’s comment to Kay that pitching is a lifelong slog of adjustments and trial-by-error and that you don’t just “figure it out” at some point in your life is not to say Hughes should be forgiven or excused for pitching poorly, it’s to say that all of us armchair quarterbacks blasting Hughes for not making this adjustment sooner are talking out of our collective asses with hindsight benefit and without fully understanding what the process of developing a pitch arsenal is really like.

        • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

          Umm, thanks for the history lesson, champ. That said, I couldn’t care less if the person who came up with “Coach’s Son” stuff also thought Ed Whitson and Javy Vazquez had better make ups to pitch the Bronx than Mariano Rivera and C.C. Sabathia. It’s completely irrelevant to whether or not the “Coach’s Son” stuff provides an excellent characterization of the way in which Hughes has been treated by the Yankees. Completely and totally irrelevant.

          You’re too complicated, talking out of asses stuff amuses me. Why don’t we just shut the comments down then? None of us knows what we’re talking about. It’s all too complicated. End of thread.

          Whatever.

          • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

            “Your too complicated . . .”

          • Jim S

            Reason why Hughes has been treated preferentially(whether or not it’s true): He’s been more highly touted, had better stuff with more success at every level of his entire baseball career than anyone else the Yankees have had in their system in years.

            Not a reason why: He’s the “Coach’s Son”.

            • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

              You admit yourself he’s been treated preferentially. Hence the “Coach’s Son” colorful characterization which adds a little rhetorical flair. The Coach’s Son gets preferential treatment. You can see that, can’t you?

              Yeah, I know, you will say a coach’s son did nothing to deserve the preferential treatment, whereas Hughes has earned such treatment. I will respond that Hughes has been living of potential/expectations/stuff/AAA results for a long while now, to a point where it’s getting close to past its expiration date, and because of that, yeah, there’s no problem having some fun with calling him the Coach’s Son.

              • Ted Nelson

                “I will respond that Hughes has been living of potential/expectations/stuff/AAA results for a long while now”

                And you would be demonstrably wrong. Just the first half of last season he was living up to it. Last season on the whole he was as good as Nova is now… why does Nova deserve the preferential treatment and not Hughes?

                “there’s no problem having some fun with calling him the Coach’s Son.”

                The problem is that it makes you look ignorant. If you’re ok with that I’m sure everyone else is.

                • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

                  You saying someone’s posts making them look ignorant is the height of projection and high comedy.

                  Your attempts to speak on behalf of “everyone else” is a clear sign of the weakness of your position and your own, well, ignorance.

                  Your ignorance is further displayed by your haphazard and sloppy style of argument which is illustrated by your asking “why does Nova deserve preferential treatment,” when I haven’t once mentioned Nova here or anywhere else. Keep it tight, my friend. You can start by trying to address the matter at hand, not rambling in borderline incoherent fashion and not attributing statements to a poster that a poster never made.

                  Referring to Hughes as the Coach’s Son at this point in his career is perfectly appropriate. If that’s too difficult for your to comprehend with the caveats I set forth, then hey, it’s unfortunate your blinded by you apparent lenses of ignorance.

                  See how easy that is?

                  • Jim S

                    He’s speaking on behalf of all people who understand how you’re attributing preferential treatment(which i did NOT judge one way or the other, i was responding as if I’d accepted the premise. It’s a common way people debate) to “coach’s son”, when everyone else realizes that has nothing to do with it.

                    Calling people ignorant is a good way to piss people off and discredit your own arguments, regardless of their merits.

                    • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

                      “Calling people ignorant is a good way to piss people off and discredit your own arguments, regardless of their merits.”

                      Agreed. Wholeheartedly.

                      Name calling, whether it be calling someone ignorant, or trying to be cute by saying they seem ignorant, sound ingorant, look ignorant or whatever, is clearly a full fledged part of his repertoire. I was simply responding in kind, hence my “see how easy that is?” tag line.

                      It’s perfectly fair to disagree with the Coach’s Son characterization with the caveats I mentioned, but to say it makes someone look ignorant to use it is just silly nonsense.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      It makes you look ignorant because it makes you look like you don’t realize the tremendous promise Hughes had and still has, that he’s only turned 25 a few weeks ago and most of the “preferential treatment” you speak of occurred when he was a 21/22 year old prospect, that most people actually think the Yankees have treated him like crap with the bullpen stint and heavy 2010 innings, that the alternative is Nova who hasn’t been any better than Hughes…

                      It is not an insult. It makes you look ignorant. Again, I strong suggest you look up what ignorant means. It makes you look like you don’t understand a whole lot of things that everyone else seems to understand.

                  • Jim S

                    As to your point, no, he’s not a “Coach’s son”, and referring to him as such implies that you don’t realize that he’s earned the longer rope.

                    Coach’s son has a negative implication, one that means you wish he’d stop getting that extra lee-way. If so, then no, you’re not kidding around. And if not, then we aren’t over-reacting in correcting you.

                    • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

                      You apparently haven’t read my posts. Please do, and if you still feel the same way, then fine. Agree to disagree.

                      Also, when you say “we” are you also talking on behalf of “everyone else” or just you and Ted?

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Dude… Fro Boy… every single person who has commented on your “Coach’s Son” analogy has disagreed with it. That is who “we” is.

                      When yet another person reads your comments and disagrees… rather than explain what you’re talking about you insult them.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    “You saying someone’s posts making them look ignorant is the height of projection and high comedy.”

                    A. Look up ignorance. It’s not an insult. If I called you an idiot like I have thong boy… that’s an insult. I am absolutely ignorant about most things… as is every human. I try not to post definitive statements about subjects on which I am completely ignorant.
                    B. Where do my posts make me look ignorant. Feel free to point it out.

                    “Your attempts to speak on behalf of “everyone else” is a clear sign of the weakness of your position and your own, well, ignorance.”

                    You misread what I wrote. I said “If you’re ok with that I’m sure everyone else is.” I didn’t speak for anyone else. I said “I’m sure.” Me. I spoke for myself.

                    ““why does Nova deserve preferential treatment,””

                    It’s implied genius. Hughes is replacing who in the rotation? Nova. Nova is pitching no better in 2011 than Hughes did in 2010. If the one in the rotation is being treated preferentially… why should that be Nova and not Hughes.

                    “Referring to Hughes as the Coach’s Son at this point in his career is perfectly appropriate.”

                    You say it is… and everyone else who has chosen to comment on the issue besides Thong Boy say it makes you look stupid. I’m not one for group think, so if you really think it is go for it.

                    “If that’s too difficult for your to comprehend with the caveats I set forth, then hey, it’s unfortunate your blinded by you apparent lenses of ignorance.”

                    Again… look up what ignorance is. Being ignorant is not the same as being stupid. It’s not knowing something, not being unable to comprehend something.

                    • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

                      In your world. . .

                      1) Calling someone ignorant is not an insult.

                      2) I somehow suggested that Phil Hughes is not 25 years old and has Danny Almonte’s people on speed dial.

                      Wow. This is where I get off.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Aren’t you the one who accused me of dodging the questions before?

                      1) I said that your comment makes you look ignorant. Since you seem to be ignorant as to the definition of the word “ignorant”… “lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact.” That’s how I was using it. It’s not an insult. Nobody knows everything. Not knowing something makes you human. We’re all in the same boat there. If you are insulted when someone calls you human by suggesting you don’t know everything… not sure what to say.

                      2) Again… what is BS? Phil Hughes being able to improve after his 24 year old season seems to be something you are referring to as BS. That a guy might actually learn/re-learn a new pitch and/or tweak his mecahnics after 24 and it makes him a better pitcher is totally normal… happens all the time. Again… you look ignorant here for not knowing that, and again… I’m not insulting you there. I’m suggesting you need to acquire more knowledge on the subject.

          • Ted Nelson

            The coach’s son stuff is as ridiculous as the commenter who came up with it.

            Teams are dealing with their expectations of future performance as well as with historical performance. Hughes was as good as Nova has been in 2011 literally in 2010… yet some people are outraged Nova got sent down in favor of Hughes.

            Hughes just turned 25 a few weeks ago… the way they treated him when he was 21, 22, 23 is the way teams treat top prospects with a lot of potential who are almost MLB ready. The same way they have been, are, or will be treating Montero, Banuelos, Betances, Cano, Jeter, Pettitte, Mo, Posada, etc.

            No one calls Posada the coach’s son since he tagged along behind Girardi at 24 before becoming a starter. No one calls Gardner the coach’s son.

            • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

              Please explain how Garner and Posada have anything to do with this.

              This guy who apparently “looks ignorant to everyone” would like to be enlightened.

              I’ll be waiting.

              • Ted Nelson

                I never said you look ignorant to anyone but me… take a chill pill and get with reality.

                “No one calls Posada the coach’s son since he tagged along behind Girardi at 24 before becoming a starter. No one calls Gardner the coach’s son.”

                I literally said what they had to do with it… your not understanding it isn’t an ignorance problem so much as it’s a reading comprehension problem. Entering his 25 year old season Jorge Posada had a .205 OPS in 9 career MLB games and was Girardi’s back-up. Entering his 25 year old season Gardner had a .582 OPS and was Melky’s back-up. Hughes is doomed not to get better after his 24 year old season, though……… great point.

                • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

                  Yeah, I’m done here. I’m gonna go talk quantum physics with the soda can I just emptied. I’m 100% certain it will result in a more coherent conversation.

                  Wow.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    Great point. No one on the entire blog with hundreds of commenters has stepped forward to agree with you while several people have disagreed, and I am incoherent.

  • UYF1950

    Joe, from your mouth to God’s ear. I’m sure every Yankees fan around would love to see Hughes become the pitcher he was projected to be. I wish him well and good luck.

  • David, Jr.

    I believe how he looks is going to have a lot to do with what Cashman does at the deadline.

  • Jake

    It definitely has a little of the spring training “best shape of his life” ring of wishful thinking to it, but I’ll definitely be rooting for him. Phil’s still one of my favorites.

    • The Golden Thong

      It’s the All-Star break. New beginnings!

      • MikeD

        For some.

    • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

      I also would love to see Hughes succeed. I still think he can, but man is it getting frustrating. He clearly has the stuff to be a beast somewhere in him and while I don’t buy this particular line of what I feel is BS, I don’t think Hughes is a lost cause. As much as the Yankees have put into him, as much as we’ve heard about him over the years, and given that he is a homegrown and homegrown gets, I would love to see him become a dominant top-flight pitcher in a Yankee uniform.

      • Ted Nelson

        What is BS?

        That he just turned 25 a few weeks ago? Are you saying he forged his documents?

        That what pitches you throw and how you throw them impacts how well you pitch? Are you saying that pitching is just hurling the ball at the mit and how well you hurl it is irrelevant?

        • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

          Wow. Just wow.

          • Ted Nelson

            Quality comment. Thanks for responding to by questions.

            Wow is BS, just wow… interesting response.

        • http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/ Xstar7

          I don’t think that’s what he was saying.

          • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

            XStar7, Teddie’s been babbling about reading comprehension, he’s clearly got special, um, ability in the area, take it easy on him.

  • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    I never really understood why he changed to the knuckle curve in the first place. Kid had a nicely developing curve, then totally switched gears and started throwing it differently. I get why the Yanks tend to favor certain pitches over others when developing very young pitchers, but for a kid with a really good pitch, who had already made it to MLB, to up and overhaul what was already shaping up to be (if it wasn’t already) a plus-pitch just seemed strange to me.

  • Ted Nelson

    Great article.

    Maybe these are things he’s been working on that are just coming to light now… but a little odd this is coming after his first MLB start back rather than, you know, while he was rehabbing.

    Also seems a bit odd to announce what pitches you’re going to throw… there would seem to be at least a small advantage to surprising hitters with it.

    One thing that’s really stood out to me about Hughes lately is how short his arm action is. He basically throws the ball from his ear, like an infielder. Maybe it’s to compensate for whatever is wrong with his shoulder or something… or maybe he did it all along and I’m just now noticing. Looking back at youtube clips the arm motion seems much fuller, though.

    • Mike HC

      Agreed with all of this. Good comment.

    • Jim S

      It’s possible that after the rehab he thought that knuckle-curve would “click”, for lack of a better word, but realized it was exactly the same as it had been pre-rehab.

      Either way, at least this gives us reason to think we might have something other than what we’ve seen since mid-2010, even if it’s just a fool’s hope.

      • Ted Nelson

        I’ve always thought there was reason to think he might be something other than what we’ve seen since mid-2010. That’s only one year. Guys have bad years. It happens. He just turned 25 years old on June 24th.

        Am I counting on it? No. Do I think it’s very possible and maybe even likely? Yes.

        People seem to ignore that while this is Hughes’ 5th MLB season, he was 21, 22 for the first two.

        • Jim S

          Oh I’m on your side. I think there’s still good-Hughes in there somewhere.

          Just saying, things like this are a positive, even if they don’t have instantly positive returns, because it shows he’s actively trying to figure it out, not sticking to the status quo.

  • Jorge

    That old curveball used to give me a woody.

    • CS Yankee

      Hopefully you sit by yourself during his next start.

    • Kevin M.

      Goto youtube and lookup Hughes vs. B Mets if you want to see what a nasty hook he used to have.

    • David, Jr.

      What happens when you look at tapes of Bert Blyleven?

  • Greg

    Once again, it goes back to the Yankees inability to develop quality starting pitching as compared to the other organizations. I look to Lester and Buchholz in Boston, Kershaw and Billingsley in L.A., Hamels in Philadelphia, not to mention the pitching factory in San Francisco.

  • beaniedemon

    I never post but thought this was intersting. I remember this from a while back.

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/m.....l-changes/

    • Dick M

      It’s more than interesting. It’s an indictment of Eiland. All that “gather yourself/balance” BS is a sure way to lose your rhythm and velocity. that actually had CC trying it for a while. Just awful coaching.

  • Dennis

    Shitty texas ruined both joba and phil. Since getting hurt in that hole niether has been the same.

    • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

      The Ballpark is a dangerous place. It’s where Yankee phenoms and Rangers fans go to die!

      • James

        That’s a completely unnecessary and dick thing to say about someone who just died last week taking his kid to a game.

      • Johnny Nitro

        Too soon, douchebag.

        • http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/ Xstar7

          Calm down, he didn’t really mean it.

  • Brandon

    Nice move by Hughes. Now if only that changeup can develop or if he can scrap it in favor of that slider…

  • billbybob

    Very tasteful.

  • the Other Steve S.

    Why do you guys troll with this character?

    • Crime Dog

      It’s kinda fun sometimes to be honest. I’m all for legit baseball arguments, I wish we could have some with this guy.

      • Oscar Gamble’s ‘Fro

        Agreed on the legit arguments. I’m all for it. But if people wish to insult simply due to a difference of opinion and seriously ask if someone is questioning Phil Hughes’ age, then it becomes exceedingly difficult to take that person seriously and engage in any type of legitimate intelligible discussion.

        Bottom line, I don’t by that the colorfully dubbed Coach’s Son can’t put anyone away simply because he’s not throwing a pitch he threw four years ago and that after ignoring that pitch for four years he’s gonna bring it back out and tear things up. Like I originally said, I am extremely skeptical.

        If the best people can do in response is say that pitching is a complicated process that is too complicated for anyone of us to really understand, that’s fine, we can agree to disagree. However, I don’t think it leaves much room for any argument, because the premise of such a position is that none of us know. Again, that’s fine, but I simply do not agree.

        The Ballpark thing was clearly a joke, not said to get a rise out of anyone, and for those that find it offensive, I apologize if I offended your sensibilities. A guy made a similar joke in a bar last night and just about everyone laughed. Strokes, folks.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    Its always amazing to me that sport performance is tied so much to the mind. Hughes’s injury causes him to move away from the mechanics and pitch that got him to the big leagues.

    Hopefully, he’ll embrace the old mechanics and get back to the top pitcher that he can be.

    I prefer the change-up. Its easier on the arm. It would come out of the same arm angle as the fastball and curve. It would provide a third speed for the hitter to time.

  • Dick M

    I’m all for the old mechanics and the old curve. this guy was a top 5 in all of baseball prospect. Basically, unhittable in the minors. Lights out stuff and command.

    the facts are he had a 70 fastball and a 70 curve. And then we started messing with him.

    There was stuff on the internet about 4 years ago where a guy took his delivery apart and showed the mechanical changes. then the BS with the spike curve.

  • BklynJT

    I don’t even remember what his old curve looks like. All i know is that his new curve does not fool anyone. if its in the dirt, players are taking it for a ball. If its in the zone, which it hardly is, they’ll eat the first one. But if he throws a second in the zone, its getting hit hard.

    Hopefully he can start to show everyone what all the hype was about prior to his injury. Man, Texas really sucks… Ron Washington and all.

  • BklynJT

    RAB, please put up some side by side gifs of Phil’s two different curves when they become available.

  • http://www.twitter.com/brandonholley B-Rando

    You have to wonder about some of the tweaks he made along the way to try and “save him” from injury in the future. The scrapping of the slider for the curve in the first place. The replacement of the usual curve grip for a knuckled grip. Tweaking the mechanics to throw more over the top, becoming a more tall and fall type of pitcher etc.

    All of those things were done to help him become a big league pitcher for a long time. He has had success in the big leagues, that cannot be denied. The real issue is consistency, which has been lacking. Whether its injury, fatigue, or something else, he has not been a consistent pitcher through an entire season.

    You have to wonder if constantly fighting natural tendencies in his delivery, mechanics, grips, whatever it may be has resulted in some inconsistency through the years. I’d like to see him just go out and pitch with whatever is most comfortable to him.

    I’m hoping for the best for Hughes moving forward. He represented a huge shift in philosophy for the Yanks, and is still immensely talented. Anyone who denies that is a fool. We’ve all been waiting for it to come together for a long time, so I can certainly appreciate the frustration some of us have shown, some of it is warranted. I still say lets see what the kid can do with training wheels completely off.

    • a.hinds

      it looks like what might make him comfortable worries him. he might have went out and been dominant for a year or 2 then blew out his arm. whats more valuable 2 years of dominant no. 1 type performance or 10 years of good to league average performance.

      in terms of dollars and actual on the field playing time, and this is what really matters… your going to want to stick around for longer. i can see how a ballplayer would trade dominance for longevity.

      his era might be a run and a half higher but its better for his career because at least he has one. and isnt selling cars or insurance or whatever washed up big leaguers do. being on to is not necessarily the goal of these guys in the majors, its sticking around.

  • Pat D

    Wow, this thread got interesting. To think that I missed all of it.

    I saw one interesting typo earlier: “Black of Latino.” I wonder if I should adopt that as my handle name…