Thursday, January 31, 2008

AP: 'Hughes Can Relax'

Today, Joel Sherman's statements regarding Phil Hughes' conditioning - or lack thereof - were basically proven to be without any merit once Patrick Teale, head of Pinstripes Plus and minor league guru, totally refuted it. However, an AP report from this afternoon pulled some quotes from the 21 year-old now that he seems to have escaped a trade which would have sent him to Minnesota.

On the Mets - not Yankees - appearing to have acquired Johan Santana:

"That's kind of been my goal the whole time, and to finally know that it's somewhat intact, it's a good feeling," the 21-year-old right-hander said Thursday at the Yankees' minor league complex.

"It's good to finally have that reassurance of being somewhat stable for the time being. It kind of dragged out longer than everybody wanted it too, but it's finally nice to be able to concentrate on things we need to do."

And on Hughes' offseason regimen:

Hughes has been working out at the complex the past six weeks and is throwing off a mound.

"He's been very diligent in his work this offseason, more so than he has in the past," Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland said. "But he's human as well. He hears the rumors. But like I tell him, all he can control is how he prepares and gets himself ready to pitch."

"He's starting to figure out some things as far as work ethic goes and what it takes to get ready for spring training," Eiland said. "This is his third major league camp. Now he's going in as a member of the pitching staff rather than just a top prospect trying to get a couple looks and being sent out. He's getting himself ready to pitch in a major league season."

Eiland's description of Hughes as 'more diligent' than past years relates to Phil's concentration level remaining squarely on baseball because of the Santana rumors. The same goes for Eiland's reference to "work ethic," because Hughes is entering Spring training as a member of the team, requiring a tougher different approach to camp. Regardless, Hughes' propensity to arrive to Spring workouts earlier than most Yankees is a testament supporting his drive to succeed.

There was also brief mention of Andrew Brackman - the nearly seven foot fireballer recovering from Tommy John surgery:

Andrew Brackman, the Yankees first round pick in the 2007 amateur draft, is throwing at 90 feet. The 6-foot-10, 240 pound right-hander from North Carolina State had elbow ligament replacement surgery last Aug. 24.

"It's feeling awesome," Brackman said.

Brackman, who will not pitch in games this season, is scheduled to increase his throwing distance in about two weeks.


Hughes To Change Jersey No.

According to Hughes' weblog, the RHP is considering a number change from his current "65" jersey. I believe Phil likes numbers that are multiples of five. Jorge's got 20, Giambi is 25, Mussina is 35, Wang at 40, Matsui 55.

The 45 jersey number is/was under Carl Pavano's control. With Carl the Crutch's bad karma, I would hope Hughes thinks twice before putting on the hex's old jersey. That leaves 30, recently vacated by Larry Bowa and 50, his former number at Trenton.

How about the number 57? That would send a message to his critics.

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