Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Hughes Hellbent On Having Helluva 08

Phil Hughes is not content with a 2007 season in which he missed substantial time due to hamstring and ankle injuries. Today's quotes paint an extremely focused and determined 21 year-old whose already outperforming Andy Pettitte at his own renowned and grueling workout regimen.
The clock hadn't even started for most pitchers, but Phil Hughes was already punching in regularly by January, throwing bullpens at the Yankees' Spring Training complex in Tampa, Fla., and getting a jump on the year to come.
"He's been as sharp as anyone," manager Joe Girardi said. "The command of all his pitches is a pat on the back to him, because he was here and working out during the winter. He was throwing sides before Spring Training started, and he looks really good at this point."
Hughes agrees with Girardi's assessment of the physical conditioning -- weeks ago, when Hughes began working out with Andy Pettitte in an early-morning program, it was Pettitte leading Hughes. Now, Hughes grins and says that he and Pettitte are about even, while Pettitte admits that Hughes has pushed ahead.

"I think I'm a little ahead of most guys because of all the work I got done," Hughes said. "I just wanted to be as prepared as I could be. I wanted to be ready to go and not just get on a mound for the first time when everybody reported."
"It was definitely the most disappointing season I've had playing baseball," Hughes said. "Any time you have a whole winter to think about that, it drives you to get back to where you were."
Whatever happens in 2008, Hughes will not let it come from lack of preparation.

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