Monday, February 25, 2008

Today In Spring Training

The LoHud blog reported a few notes from today's live batting practice, with emphasis on Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes.
Apparently Pettitte isn't satisfied with his ability to keep runners on second base from stealing third and consequently began working on a slidestep today. His pickoff move is still a lethal weapon - as illustrated by the bases-loaded sniping of Jhonny Peralta last year - but Pettitte believes AL East baserunners are beginning to take third more easily.
The report on Hughes' BP session should be encouraging for Yankees fans as the 21 year-old told Pete Abraham his curveball is back to what it was pre-hamstring injury. His fastball must also be coming back into form:

Hughes was, in a word, terrific. He made Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu and Francisco Cervelli look foolish at times. He got Abreu to swing and miss at a curveball and had Damon fouling balls off the other way, a sign of how late his swing was. Jeter only swung at 3 of the 10 pitches he saw and fouled all of them off.

Now, keep in mind, the hitters have been facing live pitching for four days and Hughes started throwing off a mound in Tampa in mid January. But what was encouraging is the confidence with which Hughes threw his curveball.

As he said later on, he never had his true curveball last year after the injury. Now it’s back. Hughes is working out with Pettitte six days a week and has dropped 10 pounds since last season. You can never say never, but all the work he has done should help him avoid leg injuries.

This all must be taken with a grain of salt, however, as pitchers are far ahead of hitters in terms of their workout regimen.

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