Friday, April 24, 2009

Dr. Phil Good Making his Pitch

Phil Hughes knows what a disappointment 2008 was. Injuries and poor pitching left him winless, DL'ed and back in the minor leagues. But while some were ready to write off the 22-yr old, the Yankees top pitching prospect still had confidence in his abilities. It's paid off so far this season as he awaits a return to the major leagues.

Hughes out pitched veteran major league Freddy Garcia on Wednesday night in the Scranton Yankees 6-1 win over the Buffalo Bisons (Mets). He allowed 1 run and 6 hits over 7.2 innings, walked 1 and struck out 7. In doing so, Hughes raised his record to 3-0.

In 19.1 innings this season, Hughes has allowed just 4 earned runs (1.86 ERA) and given up less than a hit per inning. He's also struck out 19 opponents while walking only 3.

Hughes will be the go to man if Chien-Ming Wang ends up on the DL.

Chad Jennings had this additional info on Hughes' performance:
Phil Hughes (right) struck out seven batters tonight: Two on fastballs, one on a cutter and four on a curveball that was much improved from his previous two outings. Hughes said he's been focused on the curveball during his side sessions, and felt like he got the feel for it heading into this start. It was sharp, and he was willing to throw it in just about any count, including three-ball counts when he needed to drop it for a strike.

“His curveball was outstanding," pitching coach Scott Aldred said. "Command of it was good. Break was good. He used it in good situations. To me he just pitched a much better game. He didn’t just go after guys with his fastball, then use his secondary. He mixed it up real good. No patterns. That was probably the best that I’ve seen him this year.”

Hughes was upset with himself because of the eighth inning. With two outs, he walked Cory Sullivan, then gave up a single to Andy Green on pitch that Hughes said he simply did not execute. He called it a "lack of concentration." All told, though, he was outstanding. He went through four innings -- the fourth through the seventh -- getting every out either on strikes or in the infield. His re-discovered curveball gave him three outstanding pitches, with his fourth pitch, the changeup, still a work in process.

“Trying to develop it," Aldred said. "He threw a few good ones tonight. Others he got on the side of and pushed. As long as he’s throwing it and working on developing it, that’s all we can ask of him right now. It will come. As soon as he gets a good feel for it and enough reps, it will be there.”

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