Monday, August 4, 2008

Hughes Headed To AAA

According to Tyler Kepner, the Phil Hughes rehab train will be taking the express line as the RHP is on his way to AAA-Scranton after pitching twice for Low-A Charleston. Kepner goes on to predict Hughes will only need two starts at AAA before making his major league return during the next Yankees homestand [August 17th]:
Prediction: Ian Kennedy takes over for Darrell Rasner the next time through the rotation, and Phil Hughes comes back on the next homestand. Phil made his way to Scranton last night, and he will slot into the Class AAA rotation this week. (He drove up with Shelley Duncan, who’s back in Scranton after a quick rehab for his separated shoulder in Tampa.) I can’t imagine Phil would need more than two starts until he’s ready. That could mean the end of the Sidney Ponson Era, part 2, although Ponson has done a good job.
While Kennedy earned his way back into consideration for a spot within the big league rotation, Hughes is obviously being pushed into the majors because of need, and not results. This was the same problem many had with his MLB debut last year, because the argument was that he hadn't refined his third and fourth pitches [change/slider] enough to warrant a roster spot.

Though I believe Hughes has the fastball velocity and command to succeed at the highest level, it is his ability to command the changeup which will determine how valuable he is during the '08 stretch run. In the same vain, the key to Kennedy's success remains his ability, or lack thereof, regarding the quality of his breaking stuff. No command of his curveball and the occasional slider means hitters will simply take his good changeup and sit dead red on fastballs.

It's interesting to see that Kepner is so confident Hughes and Kennedy will soon replace the dwindling twosome of Sidney Ponson and Darrell Rasner.

UPDATE from SWB Blog:
Chad Jennings had some great quotes from the pitching guru himself, Nardi Conteras, regarding Hughes:
Pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras is here with Hughes and watched both of his rehabs in Charleston. Contreras said Hughes looked about as good in his last start as he ever has with the Yankees. His fastball command and velocity were both very good -- 93 to 95 mph, not 101 like the stadium gun showed -- and Contreras said the curveball was as sharp as it's been since 2006 when Hughes was so good for Trenton.
Considering how well Nardi knows Phil's development and ability, [as well as his tendency to downplay pitchers] this is some exciting stuff. Looks as if the real deal Philip might actually show up in '08.

No comments: