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August 28, 2007

Cashman: Hughes' Fastball Seems Slower

From the Times -

As he watched Phil Hughes pitch Sunday from his home in Connecticut, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman noticed that Hughes was not throwing as hard as usual. His fastballs were averaging 88 to 91 miles an hour, Cashman said, when they should have been 91 to 93.

“I don’t know why,” Cashman said. “It’s our job to continue to look and see if there’s anything mechanically. He could still be just building arm strength from being down for so long.

“It’s starting to improve, though. His last two outings, he’s been popping a few more high-velocity fastballs. But he’s got more arm strength than he’s shown lately. He’s not coming at hitters with his full ability yet.”

His fastballs were averaging 88 to 91 miles an hour, Cashman said, when they should have been 91 to 93.

I dunno...back in April, it looked like Hughes was just touching 90 MPH then too. And, that's the range that I saw four weeks ago as well.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to see Hughes add 3 MPH to the fastball that he has now...I'm just not sold that it's going to ever happen.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at August 28, 2007 12:57 PM


I can't wait to see the reaction to this one, Steve, as Hughes is such a heated topic in Yankeeland.

My question would be how much his injury is affecting him. Not that he's not over it, but that it again has limited his innings and not allowed for a full, uninterrupted season. Certainly, that would affect his stamina, and if he's worried about that, perhaps he's dialing down the fastball a MPH or two in an attempt to conserve.

Just a thought, and I don't have any data to back it up, but I thought I'd share.

Posted by: jdasilva [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 28, 2007 02:28 PM

I still think too much is being made of his velocity.

I am curious to see what Casman means by "He’s not coming at hitters with his full ability yet."

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 28, 2007 02:38 PM

Hughes has sat 91-94 mph throughout his MiLB career, so I can't see how you could that him getting back up there is not ever going to happen.

Hughes isn't finding that velocity now, and when that happens to a pitcher it's either the result of not enough strength/conditioning (legs, back, core AND arm), messed up mechanics, injury, or because he's too damn old. Carlos Gomez has made some observations about Hughes mechanics, and it also stands to reason that he's not in top shape because of all the time off. The lack of velocity is just a symptom.

Either way, the more troubling thing, I think, is Hughes decreased control. Don't get hung up on velocity - Hughes isn't going to magically be putting up quality starts if he starts hitting 94 on the gun. I don't know how many times it needs to be said, but there are plenty of guys who can't get people out who throw 96+ (Jaret Wright is a good example) and plenty of guys who sit 89-91 and are fine.

Whatever Hughes' problem, I sure hope it gets fixed soon. We need a win every day .

Posted by: j [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 28, 2007 02:39 PM

~~~We need a win every day~~~

Actually, it's a win needed every 7 out of 10 days where there's a game. But, yes, Hughes has to be able to help make that happen too.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 28, 2007 02:51 PM