Thursday, March 25, 2010
Hughes Will Be Fifth
The word is out all around that Phil Hughes will be the Yankees fifth starter on Opening Day. I can't say I am terribly surprised, but I am a little disappointed. I have always been a big Phil Hughes fan, and I always wanted the Yankees to groom him for a rotation slot. Still this move essentially throws away the past two years of Joba's development unless the Yanks send him down to Scranton, a move which seems highly unlikely.
I will say that Hughes showed a lot of improvement this spring. The one time I was able to watch his full "start" on Monday, he looked like a much more mature pitcher than in the previous two seasons. Perhaps his time in the bullpen allowed him to regain his aggressive approach on the mound. The five home runs he allowed in 13 spring innings is more likely a result of him toying with his change up than anything else. Despite that his change up has looked good at times and could become a difference maker for him this year.
It is also worth mentioning that Hughes will likely have a slightly higher if not the same innings limit that Joba had last season. How the Yankees handle that as the season goes will be telling. Have they learned anything from last year season's mistakes? We will soon find out.