Phil Hughes talks about his two curveballs

Update: Pettitte out six weeks with fractured left ankle
2012 Draft: Yanks sign second rounder Peter O'Brien

In last night’s game recap I mentioned that Phil Hughes seemed to be throwing two different curveballs against the Indians, one his regular 12-to-6 downer and another that was more 11-to-5 (from the catcher’s point of view). The PitchFX data was unable to help confirm because the difference between the two pitches wasn’t that significant, so they were all classified under the same curveball umbrella. Thankfully, Chad Jennings spoke to Hughes this morning, who confirmed that he is in fact throwing two different curveballs…

Apparently there was some thought during yesterday’s game that Phil Hughes was throwing his slider again. Hughes said this morning that he’s been occasionally using a slightly lower arm angle and throwing a harder, tighter curveball that might look a little bit like a slider. It’s not a new pitch, just a different way of using his curveball. I know he’s done it in the past, and he said he’s been working on it the past six starts or so.

The 11-to-5 curve didn’t look much like a slider to me just because it had a bigger break, but it was clearly different that the 12-to-6er. Obviously this won’t help cure Phil’s homeritis or anything like that, but it does give the hitters something else to think about. As long as he feels confident throwing it and can locate it either down in the zone or (and) on the corners, then it’s a great little addition to his arsenal. If he can’t command the pitch and starts getting beat on it regularly, well then it’s time to shelve it. For now, let’s just keep an eye on when Hughes uses it and how effective it is.

Update: Pettitte out six weeks with fractured left ankle
2012 Draft: Yanks sign second rounder Peter O'Brien
  • CS Yankee

    The title to this article is TMI.

  • Rush Stern- megarobothead

    Gets better with age, right phillip

  • NapLajoieOnSteroids

    He has a 12 to 6 curve, a 11 to 5 curve, a knuckle-curve, a slider, a cutter, a (perennially new and improved) change-up, how many fastballs…and every few starts or so he seemingly scraps one pitch for another. And none of them (except the fastball) any good- he approaches this stuff like he’s a slop pitcher in the old guy/Freddy Garcia/Jamie Moyer mode.

    I wish the Yankees had the ability (flexibility really) to send him down just to sort out his repertoire so we wouldn’t have the same story every few weeks where he is experimenting with pitches in an effort to “figure it out.” That stuff should be relatively set by this point; or maybe by this point, have it done for him.

    • Scully

      I mean i see what you’re saying and all but he’s given up 3ER or less in 8 of his last 10 starts. The other 2 happened to be total clunkers. I’m all for him throwing as many pitches as he can throw as long as he’s getting them over like last night, which for the better part of the past 2 months he has been with regularity.

    • G

      He’s been rather effective lately so I really don’t think there’s anything to complain about…

      Some people will bitch about anything.

    • Brian

      Disagree or am misinterpreting what you’re saying. A big part of his problem is that he hasn’t been able to develop at the big league level due to injuries and bullpen stints. There’s nothing left for him to do in AAA – take a look at his minor league numbers. His FB and CB worked well enough there. He needs to learn at the big league level and continue to develop his repertoire there.

  • jjyank

    Cool. Let’s hope it helps him take the next step.

  • NapLajoieOnSteroids


    I know it sounds like I’m really being down on Hughes. But I don’t blame him for this stuff; and you are right that he has been going good and putting it together. I guess I am not totally sold (being burned on that before) and I see a guy who still has some ace (or 2) potential working on being a better number three-four guy because the Yankees never gave him enough minor league time to figure out how do some basic things. That’s what’s most frustrating.

  • Steve (different one)

    The way I see it: the 12-6 is the one he can throw for strikes. He throws it to get ahead.

    The 11-5 isnt meant to be a strike. It’s a swing and miss pitch with 2 strikes.

    Hughes has been decent. Not great. Not bad. He has also had his two best starts immediately following the 2 poor starts he’s had since turning it around, so it’s good he’s bouncing back ok.

  • Brian S.

    We need him to keep being Fill Yughes while Pettitte is out.