Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hughes Still Confident After Rough Outings. It's called Spring training for a reason, folks. I've never seen Phil Hughes throw more sliders, changeups and two-seam fastballs than in his four inning stint against the Pirates last night - leading one to believe he was doing a good deal of experimenting. Furthermore, after being pulled from his poor performance, Hughes was laughing on the mound with the infield, illustrating the difference between March and April baseball.

His curveball - while ill-commanded at times - looked like the dominant pitch it's been heralded as and his slider was also impressive when down in the zone. The changeup still needs work command-wise, but he threw some nice tailing ones to lefties, particularly Adam LaRoche.
Just talked to Hughes in the clubhouse. He said that he was overstriding on the mound because he was trying to throw too hard. “Even though it didn’t look it, the last few innings were better,” he said.

Hughes said he typically does not pitch well in spring training. “I wish that wasn’t the case but it seems to be,” he said.

"I have a few things I need to clean up but I feel like I'm close," said Hughes, who threw only 48 of his 77 pitches for strikes. "Even though it didn't look it, the last few innings were better."
Overstriding is one thing, but constantly leaving the ball up or out over the plate is not Hughes style pitching. Without the command of his four-seamer, Hughes becomes a run-of-the-mill starting pitcher. However, it's important to keep perspective as last week fans were oohing and ahhing over Phil's no-hit streak. Once the games actually count, then every pitch can be magnified with sanity.

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