Results tagged ‘ Phil Hughes ’
I actually went back and listened to the audio of A.J. Burnett and Jorge Posada breaking down that August 22 start against the Red Sox, which still happened to be on my laptop as in MP3 form. That tells me two things — one, I need to do a better job of backing up my data, and two, the tone of both players is now markedly different.
Having a whole spring to work together doesn’t necessarily mean that Burnett and Posada will work as a lights-out battery tonight against the Red Sox, nor does it mean that Burnett will have a wonderful season against the Red Sox – shades of his ’08. But it is certainly possible that Burnett just got a little too amped up to be part of the rivalry, and as Posada says in this story, it is crucial that the Yankees keep his emotions in check.
Those poor extended spring kids never had a chance. Hughes actually had to keep pitching more than the six innings the Yankees allotted, because he’d thrown too many strikes – 70 of 100 pitches, in fact. Then he dashed to Tampa International Airport and jetted up to Boston, where he’ll get a hotel room to watch two whole games in the bullpen. Then, it’s back to (guess where?) — Tampa, Florida. Yes, it seems like some cosmic joke.
Spin that wild setup bullpen wheel! My take on the picture is that the Yankees would love, adore, relish nothing more, than to have Joba Chamberlain stand tall and morph back into 2007 Joba — right up until the game where he had the midges in his mouth. I’m just not sure where that guy is right now; he seemed to be back in the ’09 playoffs, but is he there in ’10? But as Joe Girardi said in our season-opening Q&A (and I’m sure in other places as well), Chamberlain has a “good chance” to be that eighth-inning guy. Now he’s just got to prove it.
The Yankees have made a decision on what to do with No. 5 starter Phil Hughes. Here it is:
Hughes will begin the season on the Yankees roster. He’ll make an April 5 extended Spring Training start in Tampa, Fla., then meet the team in Boston. He’ll return to Tampa with the team and make an April 10 extended Spring Training start, then be ready to start on April 15 against the Angels at Yankee Stadium.
Tomorrow, Joe Girardi is expected to officially announce that Curtis Granderson is his Opening Day center fielder. Brett Gardner will be in left field and Nick Swisher, of course, will be in right.
Taking the mound as the confirmed fifth starter felt a whole lot like his previous spring starts for Phil Hughes, as it turned out. The Yankees gave Hughes the ball for 71 pitches on Friday and he burned through them in three-plus innings, but he was pitching on three days’ rest and felt as though he was only missing by a little bit.
“I didn’t really feel like I was wild,” said Hughes, who walked four, threw two wild pitches and struck out five. “It was just adjustments I needed to make. Overall, I felt pretty good.”
Hughes liked testing his mettle and his changeup against the tough Phillies lineup, which serves as a good indication of where he is with regards to competition. His next start should come on Wednesday against the Twins, and after that it’s still up in the air.
He might be selected to pitch the Yankees’ fifth game on April 10 at Tampa Bay, but probably not because CC Sabathia would already be on an extra day of rest then.
The Yankees are planning to go Sabathia-A.J. Burnett-Andy Pettitte-Javier Vazquez in the first four days of camp, but need to further discuss their planning with regard to Hughes because of all the days off the Yankees enjoy in April.
We’re back at you bright and early on Saturday morning, so here are some quick notes before we hit the road:
- Amaury Sanit was sent to Minor League camp after the game. Sanit was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in six spring appearances, spanning 5 1/3 innings, with no walks and six strikeouts. The Yankees are down to 32 players in camp.
- The Yankees could wait until April 1 or April 2 to sort out the last touches of their bullpen mix, Joe Girardi said.
- Marcus Thames stroked a solid single in his first at-bat off Jamie Moyer, and the Yankees want to see more of his hitting against left-handed hurlers. Expect him to be in the lineup Saturday as the Yankees see the Tigers’ Nate Robertson in Lakeland.
- Mike Rivera (right hamstring) will not take batting practice until Monday. He tweaked his leg running the bases in an intrasquad game this week.
- Francisco Cervelli will have an excused absence from camp on Saturday and Sunday.
In case you just haven’t gotten enough of the fifth starter drama in camp, it appears that whoever the Yankees’ “healthy discussions” yield as the top choice, it won’t be Chad Gaudin.
Gaudin has placed on waivers by the Yankees, according to an AOL Fanhouse report. If no one claims him, the Yankees could release him and pay a quarter of his $2.95 million salary ($737,500), or ship him to Triple-A and pay his full salary.
So, it appears that it’s down to four – Alfredo Aceves, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Sergio Mitre. If I had to put on my Carnac hat today and make a decision, I’d say that the Yankees are going to go with Hughes, which would not have been my prediction heading into camp.
I had thought Chamberlain was a near-lock, since they spent three years building him up for this opportunity to pitch without innings restrictions.
But that’s just a guess, anyway. Who’s your pick?
Joe Girardi is planning on meeting for “healthy discussions” tomorrow about the fifth starter competition, and a decision appears to be coming up for Thursday or Friday at the latest.
“We’re going to discuss it in the next couple of days,” Girardi said. “We’ve got to start to iron some things out because we’re running out of innings and we’ve talked about wanting a decision to get the guys in the bullpen.”
It’s always possible that the Yankees could want to see a more starts from their contenders, especially Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes, but it also stands to reason that – at this point – the Yankees know exactly what they have and don’t need any more data to sway their choices.
If that’s the case, then here are the resume bullet points for each of the five pitchers:
Alfredo Aceves, 28, RHP
- Grapefruit League: 1-1, 3.77 ERA in four games (two starts); 14.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 7 SO
- 2009: Was 10-1 with one save and a 3.54 ERA in 43 appearances (one start).
- Last outing: Charged with 5 ER in 4 1/3 IP vs. the Astros in Kissimmee.
- Quote to note: “It’s part of the game. It’s baseball. You always keep
the bad and the good things. You just fix it to the next game, those
details. … I don’t want to use that word, ‘happy.’ But so far, it’s been a good Spring Training — for everybody.” – Aceves.
Joba Chamberlain, 24, RHP
- Grapefruit League: 0-0, 16.20 ERA in three games (one start); 6.2 IP, 10 H, 12 ER, 1 HR, 7 BB, 5 SO.
- 2009: Was 9-6 with a 4.75 ERA in 32 appearances (31 starts).
- Last outing: Allowed 2 ER in 5 IP vs. Yankees intrasquad in Tampa
- Quote to note: “I’ve just been in a routine. It’s just one of
those questions you’re faced with every day. It’s human nature when you
get asked every day to think about it, so it’s just something where
I’ve gone back to having fun. I’m just enjoying being out here, putting
this uniform on and competing with these guys.”- Chamberlain.
Chad Gaudin, 27, RHP
- Grapefruit League: 0-3, 8.38 ERA in four games (two starts); 9.1 IP, 16 H, 9 ER, 2 HR, 5 BB, 5 SO. Has been placed on waivers by Yankees, according to a report.
- 2009: Was 5-10 with a 4.76 ERA as a starter in 2009 with the Padres and Yankees
- Last outing: Allowed 4 R (3 ER) in 2.1 IP vs. the Rays in Port Charlotte
- Quote to note: “It’s not that I’m not competing, I’m trying to feel a rhythm. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it’s not. It’s
inconsistent. But [Friday], I didn’t get the job done. No excuses.”- Gaudin.
Phil Hughes, 23, RHP
- Grapefruit League: 0-2, 4.15 ERA in four games (one start); 13.0 IP, 12 H, 6 ER, 5 HR, 2 BB, 10 SO.
- 2009: Was 8-3 with three saves and a 3.03 ERA in 51 appearances (seven starts).
- Last outing: Allowed 4 ER in 4.1 IP vs. the Phillies in Clearwater
- Quote to note: “I’ve done all I can do. We’ll just have to see where
they want to go from here. … I’ve kind of learned around here just to
roll with the punches. What you say isn’t going to affect anything. You
just have to go out and do the best you can, and see what decisions
come from it.” – Hughes.
Sergio Mitre, 29, RHP
- Grapefruit League: 0-0, 3.21 ERA in four games (two starts); 14.0 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 1 HR, 3 BB, 14 SO.
- 2009: Was 3-3 with a 6.79 ERA in 12 appearances (nine starts)
- Last outing: Allowed 2 R in 5 IP vs. the Rays in Port Charlotte
- Quote to note: “I would think he’s probably pretty healed. He had the
offseason to rest, and I think part of it is just the constant grind.
Having the offseason, I think he’s probably where he’s going to be.
It’s probably nice for him to feel much better after every start.” – Girardi.
Curtis Granderson got to exchange hugs and pleasantries with his old Tigers teammates yesterday, and Johnny Damon quipped about his old Yankees buddies secretly missing him as New York and Detroit met for the first time this spring.
It was all feel-good in the sunshine, except for Joba Chamberlain, who may be slipping a touch in the race to be the Yankees’ No. 5 starter. Perhaps Chamberlain is still battling the after-effects of a nasty case of the flu, which he spoke about after the game, but in any event the numbers didn’t look pretty in our writeup:
Chamberlain’s Spring Training ERA sits at 27.00 after he gave up six
runs on five hits and three walks over 2 1/3 innings on Wednesday, but Hughes stepped in and allowed a solo home run among three hits, striking out two and walking none over 2 2/3 innings.
Just for comparison, the New York Post declared that Joba will be facing the biggest Spring Training game of his young career when he faces the Astros on Tuesday.
The positive spin from the Yankees’ perspective is that there is still time for Chamberlain, Hughes and even the other competitors to make their ultimate impression. Girardi said early in camp that he wanted to have a fifth starter picked out by about March 25 or so, making this the official two-week warning for the races.
- Love this quote from Granderson -”On my iPhone, one of my bookmarks is still the Tigers’ Web site. There’s no reason for me to delete it.” I need to ask him if he’s reading Yankees.com too.
That definitely wasn’t Joba Chamberlain’s best out there this afternoon, and there was a reason for it. After spending two days this week laid up in bed with flu-like symptoms, Chamberlain guessed he was at 60 percent when he took the mound today against the Rays. The results weren’t pretty, as he was rapped for five runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings.
Chamberlain said that he had barely eaten in three days and almost felt “scared to eat” – yesterday he choked down a Subway sandwich; tonight he planned to dine on mostly Gatorade. It’s a drastic change after being on a daily weightlifting regimen since last month. In all, he said he’s lost eight pounds since this ordeal started, but skipping the start wasn’t an option in his mind.
“You’d probably have to chop my legs off,” he said. “I’m going to take the ball as much as I can and try to get better. I felt strong enough and I felt like I did enough inbetween to try and get ready.”
- Phil Hughes thought he was “OK” in his two innings of one-run ball. That homer he served up to Sean Rodriguez might have been wind-blown a little, and Hughes thought Curtis Granderson had it lined up until it carried over the wall.
“It was all right,” Hughes said. “It was nice to finally get out there in real game situations. My fastball command was all over the place, but I felt like I threw some good changeups. They were swinging early and often, which was good. I got a read on some things.”
- Joe Girardi said that he’ll probably give Nick Johnson until Monday now to rest his stiff lower back. He didn’t want to play Johnson tomorrow vs. the Blue Jays and he definitely doesn’t want him making the long bus ride to Fort Myers for the Twins on Sunday. So, Monday it is.
- Girardi said that he thought Curtis Granderson had “two really good at-bats” vs. left-handed pitching. No hits yet for him, though. … Nick Swisher (wrist) is fine after hitting the ground running the bases.
Some closing thoughts from Bright House Field, where the Phillies defeated the Yankees with two runs in the ninth inning off Wilkins Arias…
- Nick Johnson is well aware of what the public perception is of his injury problems, and he grinned widely when somebody brought up how – no matter how trivial this back tweak might be – the bottom scroll on the TV news is still going to say that Johnson was scratched with a stiff lower back, and someone will inevitably say, ‘Here we go again.’
“It won’t be too long,” he said. “I’m not really worried about that.”
- Joe Girardi was mentioning how under conditions on a day like today, sometimes the ball can feel a little bit slick – perhaps a hint to not put all that much stock in the pitching. This may not get much sympathy from those of you up north, but some of the Yankees were feeling the chill out in that left-field bullpen. Put it this way – at first pitch, it was 49 degrees. Phillies.com’s Todd Zolecki checked the weather for Philadelphia at the same time and it was 40 degrees. So basically we could have played this one at Citizens Bank Park, as long as they cleared the snow.
- Girardi mentioned Zach McAllister (scoreless fourth), Ivan Nova (scoreless fifth) and Boone Logan (scoreless 1 1/3 innings) under the heading of “a lot of good things.”
- Roy Halladay should wind up being a pretty good deal for the Phillies. 24 pitches, 21 strikes. Girardi said, “He doesn’t change much, that’s for sure.” The Yankees saw him five times out of 18 games against the Blue Jays in 2009 and should be doing handsprings now that the good Doc has departed the American League East.
- Girardi’s message for tomorrow, when Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain will both pitch against the Rays: “No one’s going to be our fifth starter the first time through the rotation. It doesn’t happen that way. They’re going to be competitive, there’s no doubt about it. We’ll watch them closely, but all these guys need to get their arm strength back. Just try not to overthrow tomorrow. Try to stay within yourself.”
Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes offered a group of eight Yankees batters a combined 64 pitches to look at on Friday, and while that wasn’t enough for either of them to gain a percentage point in this great little battle we’re calling a fifth-starter’s race, it certainly gave you something to watch about on a sunny but cool afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Both pitchers are working on the usual stuff like command, secondary pitches and strength at this point in the campaign, but the Grapefruit League is already upon us next week and it’s certainly not too early to begin looking at human beings in the box.
“It’s still just preparation,” Joe Girardi said. “We don’t want them to try to do too much right now. They’re just preparing for their starts.”
What was Jorge Posada looking at? Well, against Chamberlain he watched a nasty slider buzz his back ankle, and in catching Hughes he saw a pitcher who is developing his own mound presence. Either way, Posada liked what he saw.
“Obviously, right now it’s too early,” Posada said. “But you still want to see all that, how they handle themselves. … They have grown in a good way, both of them. Both of them, you saw it in ’07 with Joba and Phil last year, the way they have grown. You see a lot of good things. You see what the scouts were talking about, how they handle themselves.”
Posada said that Hughes stepped up in the second half last year and showed a lot of maturity in adjusting to being bounced to the bullpen, and offered raves for Chamberlain’s mental approach in tackling the last year of the Joba Rules.
“Joba had no idea what was going to happen with him,” Posada said. “It’s tough to deal with that, it really is. He has handled it real well, not knowing what’s going to happen with the Joba Rules. The pitching coach telling him, ‘You’ve got 20 pitches,’ before an inning starts.
“That’s tough to do, it really is. You can’t pitch like that – ask any of the veterans. He has handled it real well.”
- Confirmed by Dave Eiland – CC Sabathia throws a bullpen tomorrow, with A.J. Burnett throwing Monday, Andy Pettitte Tuesday and Javier Vazquez on Wednesday. Mariano Rivera and Damaso Marte throw their first sides on Monday.
- The Yankees will use the DH rule on March 4, March 12, March 17 and March 20.
- Saw Hector Noesi shyly walk up to Derek Jeter and ask him to sign a baseball in the clubhouse. Noesi tucked it on the top shelf of his locker for safe-keeping.
- Bombers bits: The Yankees plan to use both Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson in left field and center field when Grapefruit League games begin on March 3, looking to evaluate comfort levels. They do not anticipate a scenario where Granderson would not be in center field when Gardner is not playing. … Girardi said that outfielder Jamie Hoffmann’s Rule 5 status will not affect his chances to make the team. “Maybe in some other camps, it might work one way or another, but here we’re going to take what we feel gives us the best team,” he said. …The Yankees will have a team outing on March 2, similar to last year’s billiards tournament.
That was Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes climbing into the bullpen six-pack on Thursday, each throwing 30 fastballs and changeups as they get ready for the competition to be the Yankees’ fifth starter.
And while each one of those pitches met a catcher’s glove under the watchful eye of Joe Girardi and Dave Eiland, you didn’t need to take mental notes from that session. It’s much too early to begin handicapping a race that hasn’t yet begun.
“The ball was coming out of their hands well, and that was encouraging,” Girardi said.
As for Girardi’s presence behind both pitchers, that also shouldn’t have racked the nerves of either right-hander. After all, they both did pitch in the World Series last year, when there were slightly more eyes fixed upon their actions.
There’s still more than a month to figure it all out, but Chamberlain said that he “feels good at this point” and Hughes agreed that everything “feels right about on pace.”
Really, all a guy can do with this session today is prove he can throw a fastball for strikes and pitch inside to a phantom hitter. It makes it pretty hard to read. We could use one of those wooden stand-in batters that Charlie Sheen decapitated in Major League as a reference tool.
Hughes joked that there should be a meter somewhere, with an arrow pointing to the winning player’s name, kind of like a popularity contest. So who’s winning on Feb. 19? Call it even for now.
“I don’t think any jobs are awarded on your bullpens or your BPs,” Hughes said.
- Nick Swisher made another appearance in the clubhouse today – seems like you just can’t keep him away, even though position players don’t have to get to George M. Steinbrenner Field until next week. Swisher says he’s 12 pounds lighter and Girardi believes he can be more productive than he was in ’09, though he was “pretty good” as the right fielder.
- We haven’t talked too much about the bullpen yet, but Girardi did acknowledge today that in a perfect world, he’d like to have two left-handed pitchers to create more options. Of course, there’s right-handers who can get lefties out like Dave Robertson, but Boone Logan will get a serious look during camp. Girardi said that Logan was acquired with the idea that he could do “big things” for the Yankees.
- Guest instructor Yogi Berra arrived today, and I didn’t see his golf clubs on Girardi’s couch. I thought for sure that they’d be safely stored in the building somewhere, but it turns out that Yogi’s saving his strength for the summer. That’ll give him more time to watch BP from behind the batting cage, we guess.