Quote: Hughes Talks Development of Changeup

New York Yankees Phil HughesVia George King of the NY Post:

“In the first half things were going so well I didn’t need it,’’ Phil Hughes said of the change. “In the second half when I needed it I threw harder and curveballs. At the end of the season it was a good pitch for me, but …

“Larry (Rothschild) has given me some tips,’’ Hughes said of the first-year Yankees pitching coach. “He told me to explode at the end, to not get it going at the beginning (of the delivery).

“It’s not going to be a big strikeout pitch but I think it can be usable,’’ said Hughes. “I am not going to scrap it this early in my career.’’

Not sure how important the changeup really is for Hughes. It’s talked about a lot, but that’s all that may be – talk. When he was at his best last season he wasn’t really throwing it at all.

That said, Hughes has got the right idea though. He’s a young pitcher and he shouldn’t just give up on it at this point in his career. Without a third pitch he could fall into the trap of being like A.J. Burnett who, like Hughes, only throws fastballs and curveballs and when one pitch becomes slightly less effective he gets hit hard.

The danger is obviously the fact that Hughes doesn’t throw the pitch a lot because he doesn’t completely trust the pitch. If he’s throwing it just to throw it, it could wind up hurting him in a critical spot. Meanwhile he can’t work on it excessively during spring training or side sessions as he would be in danger of losing his touch on his other pitches.

It’s a fine line Hughes must walk and it may be one that takes year, not weeks or months, to workout. I do like the fact that he’s working with Rothschild now because he’s getting a chance to work with somebody with fresh eyes. This is a guy who hasn’t been with him for years and might be overlooking something he has done wrong so far during his career.

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2 Responses to Quote: Hughes Talks Development of Changeup

  1. Mindkind says:

    I think the development of the changeup is the key to Hughes becoming a true top of the rotation starter.

  2. David K. says:

    Does anyone know why hardly any Yankee pitcher today throws the split finger fastball? I think guys used to worry that it would blow out their arms but I thought that had eventually been proven to be a myth as guys like Roger Clemens used it a lot to great effect. I look at a guy like Phil Hughes and it seems to me he would be fantastic if he developed a good splitter. It is almost like a change up but thrown harder and the bottom falls out. It is so hard to develop a splitter? Almost every pitcher in Japan throws it.