Spent the afternoon in Trenton (I highly recommend taking in a game at Waterfront Park if you haven't) to watch Phil Hughes' most recent rehab start.
It was a good one, as Hughes allowed three hits and one run in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked two.
"I went out today and didn’t even think about stuff," Hughes said. "I know that’s what everybody wants to know about, but my last two outings, and even my sim [games] down in Florida, my stuff was good. I just kind of trusted it would be there and worried more about command today."
Unlike his previous two rehab starts, it was.
“My last two outings stuff-wise has been good, it was the command that faltered a little bit so I wanted to make sure I improved upon that and didn’t necessarily think about what the radar gun said on every pitch,” Hughes said. “I knew my stuff’s been good last month or so, just have to make sure the location’s there.”
For a pitcher on the disabled list ostensibly because of a “dead arm,” though, the radar gun is important and things looked good there as well.
Hughes’s fastball maxed out at 94-mph and consistently sat between 91-94 mph. His third-to-last pitch of the day was a 92-mph fastball.
A big group of Yankees’ hierarchy watched Hughes, a group that included general manager Brian Cashman, Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations Mark Newman, Senior Director of Pro Personnel Billy Eppler and Senior Vice President Gene Michael.
“I thought he was very impressive,” Eppler said. “You saw sustained velocity, you saw command of his fastball, command of his cutter, command of his curveball, command of his changeup. He was hitting his spots.”
Hughes said he feels as if he's Major League-ready now, but figures on making one more rehab start. He also knows that decision isn't his to make.
"What I think doesn’t matter," Hughes said. "Whether I think or not [he's ready for the majors] isn’t going to change anything. Cashman was here, he’ll make the call. Certainly I hope I won’t need much more time but that’s not what I get paid to do."