Phil Hughes’ Lack Of Velocity A Growing Concern For Yankees

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Before Opening Day, most Yankees fans were worried about A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova or Freddy Garcia being the weak link in the Yankees’ rotation.

Add Phil Hughes to the list.

Hughes’ fastball was lacking zip on Sunday as he gave up two long home runs to Miguel Cabrera. In spring training, Hughes’ velocity was around 88 mph, lower than the 93-94 he normally reaches.

After the loss, Hughes admitted his lack of velocity is “a little disconcerting right now,” but added, “I feel fine.”

“It’s just arm strength or whatever it is,” Hughes said. “My velocity is not where I would like it to be at this stage.”

The Yankees have high expectations for Hughes, their latest homegrown All-Star. After going 18-8 last season, he’s moved up from the No. 5 spot in the rotation to third and he was given retired Andy Pettitte’s old locker in the New York clubhouse.

“This is going to be a concern until you see it,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. “When you get going and start to see velocity, you can relax a little.”

LISTEN: Phil Hughes talks with WCBS 880’s Suzyn Waldman prior to Sunday’s outing

In his brief career in the rotation, Hughes has not been able to limit his mistakes at home. Last season, his first full year as a starter, Hughes tied for the major league lead for homers allowed at home with 20.

“I was more concerned about his locating the baseball and the fact that he didn’t do it today,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Sometimes guys who throw harder take a while longer. The big concern is not locating.”

“I think he’s trying to generate velocity and losing location because of it,” added Rothschild.

Hughes allowed five runs and five hits in four innings over 90 pitches.

“I hope in the next two or three starts it comes around and it’s not a story,” Hughes said. “It’s tough for me to pitch at this velocity, so I have to turn it around.”

Are you concerned about Hughes’ lack of velocity? Sound off in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. RonM. says:

    BIG BIG PROBLEM. LOOKED AS LOST AN INEFFECTIVE AS HE WAS IN SECOND HALF..REMEMBER THE RANGER SERIES…FRIGHTENING. HE’LL BE SENT DOWN BEFORE SEASON IS UP, TO TRY TO FIND IT AND CONFIDENCE. I LOOK FOR NOVA TO BE MORE THAN ADEQUATE THIS YEAR. SAME FOR A.J…. FREDI? DON’T THINK SO.

  2. Clark Stratton says:

    A friend of mine drafted both Hughes and Burnett to his fantasy team. There were jokes from some about Burnett but I said to him that its not Burnett I would be worried about- its Hughes. I admit I am a Jays fan but frankly, Hughes has not impressed me since the mid point of last year.

  3. Peepee Hands says:

    Yeah, but you may get a 94-95 ball thats over the plate past Miguel Cabrerra, but not an 88 mph. Thats the difference velocity makes. Its harder to catch up to.

  4. owen says:

    Long Time Fan

    I was wondering when the media would remember just how ineffective Hughes was for much of the year last yer. His poor performance yesterday is all too typical of what he didn’t do in 2010. The trutht is the Ynkees have one solid pitcher, acouple of no-names and two huge (doubtful) question marks. The hole Gerardi needsto fill is a lot bigger than just Andy P.

  5. bob horn says:

    it wasn’t lack of velocity, it was location. those homers looked like bp fastballs over the plate.

  6. Student of Sports says:

    I’m not too concerned, I think he’s just a young pitcher who is still trying to figure out how to build up his arm strength. If this problem purists I’ll be worried but as of now, I think he’ll be fine.

    http://studentofsports.blogspot.com/

  7. Joe says:

    I’ve been concerned about Phil since the all star break. I don’t think he’s as good as his record shows. Hope I’m wrong

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