Phil Hughes said of his 30 pitches today, 12 were changeups. The Yankees want to see Hughes develop a changeup after spending much of last season throwing mostly fastballs and curveballs – along with the occasional cutter – out of the bullpen.
“I think it’s important that you have more than two pitches when you’re trying to go through a lineup the second, the third and the fourth time, that’s where it becomes important,” Joe Girardi said. “You might be able to go through the lineup fastball, curveball the first time, and then hitters start to make adjustments and you want to give them different looks, so that’s when you talk, as a starter, you want them to have three or four pitches. Phil also has the cutter he’s worked on that was pretty good at times last year. But you still want to have something that really takes them off the hard stuff. And his curveball can do that, but to have that extra pitch, I think, is really important.”
Girardi knows Hughes won’t be immediately comfortable throwing his changeup in games, but that’s what the spring is for.
“This is the time to work on it a lot and see if we can continue to improve it,” Girardi said. “You want to put a thought in a hitter’s head, you’re not going to see just two pitches. You’re going to see three or four from me and you don’t know what I’m going to throw at any time. And if he can do that it makes him better."
*** Though it’s only been two days, Girardi said he’s been impressed with the caliber of arms he’s seen so far.
“I really like the arms we have in camp,” he said. “And there’s some young players in here…that’s good to see because you think about your future and you need depth in your rotation, you need depth in your bullpen. You’d like to say the 12 guys you start with are all going to do very well and stay healthy, but the reality is it’s probably not going to happen."