Phil Hughes Set Back


Bryan Hotch reports today that the Yankees cut Phil Hughes bullpen short after about 20 pitches when something was clearly not right. Here’s the quote from Hotch:

Phil said he “felt like there was nothing coming out of his arm on the pitches”… “It’s just the same as before,” Hughes said. “It’s dead, nothing coming out. I didn’t bounce back odd that long bullpen session like I would have liked. It’s just a lot of deadness.”

Phil also stated he felt like he was around 120 pitches instead of 20. Not good. Hughes will report to see Dr. Chris Ahmad today to be evaluated.

After his initial struggles many of us were wondering if Hughes was injured however the Yankees did not order an MRI. Sounds like they’ll certainly be sending Hughes for one now. Hughes was slated to make a rehab start later this week. Girardi did say he felt no pain, which is obviously a good sign.

As for the rotation, here’s hoping Bartolo and Garcia continue to pitch well.

8 thoughts on “Phil Hughes Set Back

  1. I hate to be the first to say this, but I do not find a lack of pain or other perceptible symptom a good sign at all. Physical symptoms have causes and potential cures. Absent any symptoms, he’s just another guy who throws slow fastballs to contact.

    This problem has been painfully (for fans) apparent for almost a year now and Phil was re-signed to a comparitively low-cost one-year contract for this reason, Even if an MRI somehow magically finds something that can be altered or repaired surgically, his rehab time will be prohibitive this season. My guess is they didn’t MRI him before now because once they do it becomes part of his league-mandated medical jacket. Their decision to skip even a few innings of work in the minors for evaluative purposes and their obvious reluctance to MRI him is proof to me they know he’s simply done and have known it for a while. Given the offseason concerns about our starting pitching, it’s not surprising at all they took a flyer on him by re-signing him.

    But given the promising early success of our rotation’s geezer recycling program and the stable of exciting young arms on the farm ready for a taste of the show, it should be clear to all his days as a starter are over and his time in pinstripes numbered.

    In time, in someone else’s organization, he may yet learn a few new pitches and make a living somewhere in the game. But he’s not a potential project like Garcia or Colon who had years to adjust to their fading speed and learn the craft of artful pitching. He can’t be taught to simply throw faster or harder, or master new pitches in the time frame left to him and the team this season. Whatever shred of value he may still have had as trade bait will only be destroyed by an MRI showing there’s nothing wrong, or an ill-advised mound appearance getting battered by minor leaguers that cheats one of our legit prospects of valuable innings and work.

    To keep him around only foils the team’s future planning and deal-making to improve the rotation, both for this season and long-term going forward. If they haven’t already started shopping him, I sure hope they do now and that it’s not too late. ….Thanks for the memories, Phil, and best of luck elsewhere.

    • You have a wonderful imagination. A verisimilitude in your ramblings that almost but not quite mirrors reality. You, sir, could be the Tolstoy or Dickens of this century. Continue your good work.

      • Imagination? Is it not a fact Phil’s dead arm and loss of velocity has been well-documented since the All-Star break last year? Or that the Yankees and Hughes have all repeatedly and continuously dismissed the possibility that it’s a physical injury and that his arm simply has nothing left in it? Or that at this late date Phil has regressed even further to the point where he openly says his arm has nothing after only 20 pitches.

        If you’re a parent, I pity your children should they ever develop a disability. Your stunning eagerness to avoid addressing disturbing realities and resort to ridicule will do them no favors. I welcome and respect dialogue with people who disagree with me and understand how to maturely carry on point counterpoint. Your snarky reply to my post does not constitute an argument, absent of anything but ignorance and immaturity.

        Grow up and contribute something constructive to the discussion or troll elsewhere. (If you wish, my wonderful imagination can conjure some helpful suggestions where.)

        • Its actually not a fact Phil has had dead arm since the all-star break, he may have struggled in the second half and playoffs but he didn’t lose velocity during that time. He was pitching in the low to mid 90’s the whole time, they first noticed the dead arm in spring training.

          I still believe this is nothing more than the affect of all the innings he pitched last season. Look at Cole Hamels he goes from throwing 92 one season, to 89 the next, and up to 93 the season after that. He had to pitch deep into the season and added a ton of innings to his arm, naturaly there should be some arm tiredness from such a thing.

          Ultimately if Phil is going to be effective he needs control, whether he is throwing 89 or 92 he needs to stop being so wild in the strike zone and learn how to pitch. I honestly believe that the lack of velocity isn’t a huge deal, it has simply exposed what I’ve said for a while and that’s the fact that Hughes has never had good command, and he needs to work on that more than anything.

          • I agree with much of what you say here as to the possibility that his extended innings last season may be the culprit behind his velocity drop since mid-2010, and we can quibble about whether they only started CALLING it dead arm for lack of another term in spring training because it didn’t fix itself after the offseason like they’d hoped and they still really don’t know what it is. But the issue is still velocity drop associated with numbness, and Hughes himself has said that — whatever you want to call it — he’s been dealing with it since the All-Star break. Also, a number of former veteran pitchers and catchers have weighed in and said they don’t believe it IS dead arm syndrome because they never heard of someone having to cut a bullpen session short because of that. Some have said it sounds a lot more like a problem David Cone had that turned out to be blood clots requiring surgery and a difficult rehab. Short answer: nobody has a clue which means nobody — including you or me — can offer a solution, and certainly we can agree he’s useless to us until one is found, if ever one is. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on the season and his one-year contract.

            Either way, as you say, Hughes has exactly one half season as a semi-dominant pitcher under his belt and he has never really mastered his control or command of his secondary pitches, and now he has no chance of returning to the rotation any time soon. And I’m just saying that there’s a reason they didn’t lock him up long-term this past offseason and I think this is it and this problem isn’t going to get fixed this year. So if you’re saying you think he’s worth re-signing and carrying on the roster another season to see if he can be stretched again and helpful to us in the future, I’d respectfully disagree for the reasons I stated in my initial post.

  2. Did he work on his mechanics at all? Or just rest, then do some long toss, then get right back to his presumed (by me) bad habits/mechanics?

    • They’ve tried all of the above and then some, MW, and they’re at a dead end now on what to do with his dead arm.

  3. Real simple folks:

    The Yankees should get Andy Pettitte to come out of retirement and trade for Derek Lowe.

    Sabathia/Lowe/Burnett/Pettitte/Garcia, Millwood, or Colon

    Pettitte costs only money, Lowe midlevel prospects and money (the Braves are not getting Betances, Banuelos, Brackman, Montero, or I’d say even Nova with him.)

    The Yankees could offset Lowe’s $15M for 2012 like this:

    -Re-sign Posada for a year and $5.85M if he’s good enough to be brought back ($13.1M – 5.85M = $7.25M cleared)

    -Let go of Kei Igawa ($4M cleared)

    -Buy out Damaso Marte ($4M – 250K buyout = $3.75M cleared)

    $15M cleared, $21.85M cleared- the cost of a new one-year DH (Eric Chavez for double what he’s making this year?) if they let go of Posada.