Last night, Phil Hughes pitched for the Trenton Thunder against the New Britain Rock Cats (AA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins). The results were generally mixed. In four innings of work, Hughes’ final line ended at 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, and 3 SO. Heading into the night he was scheduled to pitch about 75 pitches.
In terms of command, Hughes was having a difficult time finding the strike zone for most of the evening. Of his 72 total pitches, only 42 were thrown for strikes though the lousy weather may have exacerbated the lack of control. Although he only walked two on the evening, most of the hitters did enjoy favorable counts.
The only run ultimately surrendered by Phil came in the fourth though, after Chris Parmelee worked a lead off walk. Yangervis Solarte worked a long at bat which resulted in a single that forced Parmelee to third. Brian Dozier then eventually singled which allowed the run to come in.
As for the velocity, Hughes was topping out at 92-93 miles per hour although a fair share of his pitches were closer to the 89-90 mark. He certainly didn’t seem as revitalized as he did in his last rehab start against the Cyclones where he was supposedly hitting 95 on the radar. That said, he also didn’t appear quite has helpless as he looked during his first three starts of this season for the Yankees during which time he was experiencing an inflamed shoulder resulting in “dead arm.”
Brian Cashman was also present at the game and commented on Hughes’ expected timetable for return.
“In a perfect world he should get two more starts. His next outing should be about 90 pitches and then we’d like to get him up over 100 before we take him. It all depends on what happens with our New York roster too. We might not be in a position to be in a perfect world. If we get in trouble in New York I’ll have to take him. But as long as he’s healthy, he’ll be all right.”
After the game, Phil Hughes commented on how he felt. “It just feels like the ball is coming out pretty good right now, so that’s encouraging.” Given that Hughes is optimistic about his health and recovery, I think this outing still has to be viewed as a step in the right direction.
In an unrelated bit of interesting news, noteworthy prospect Austin Romine went 1-4 on the evening and is currently posting a .297/.360/.418 (.778 OPS) slash line on the season — so that’s pretty cool.
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