Is it December already? Here’s the news:
- Mark Feinsand of the News talks to Phil Hughes about his AFL performance and his expectations for 2009.
Last winter, Phil Hughes was one of the hottest commodities in baseball, the centerpiece of a proposed trade between the Yankees and Twins that would have landed Johan Santana in pinstripes.
Now, as the Yankees pursue free agent pitchers CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe, the 22-year-old Hughes is uncertain whether he’ll even be in the majors when the 2009 season starts.
“It’s just one of those wait-and-see things,” Hughes said from his family’s Southern California home. “We’ll sign whoever we sign this winter, and I’ll go to spring training with the same attitude that I always do. I don’t worry about the things I can’t control.”
Hughes went 2-0 with a 3.00ERA in seven AFL starts, but if you take out his disastrous outing on Oct. 18 in which he allowed seven runs in 2-2/3 innings, Hughes posted a 0.99 ERA in his other six games. He struck out 38batters in 30 innings, routinely hitting 94-95 mph with his fastball – something he didn’t do during his time with the Yankees last season.
“I was there for the innings, but at the same time, I didn’t want to go out and get walloped every time I took the mound,” Hughes said. “I worked on some things, got my innings in and was pretty successful at the same time.”
While Hughes bulked up his innings total, he also used the time to work on his cutter, a pitch he started to develop late in the season after he decided to scrap his slider altogether.
“My slider wasn’t working at all,” Hughes said. “I worked a lot this fall on my cutter and my changeup, and both have come a long way.”
- Pete Abe of LoHud hit us with three good pieces over the weekend:
- An appreciation of Mariano Rivera, on his 39th birthday
- An update on the Puerto Rican league performance of Ian Kennedy.
- His opinions on why the Hot Stove has been so cold thus far.
- Bryan Hoch of MLB.com runs down the arbitration decisions facing the Yanks. Here’s his take on Bobby Abreu.
The Yankees are also likely to offer arbitration to outfielder Bobby Abreu, who has expressed interest in staying in New York but is thought to covet a multiyear contract. The 34-year-old Abreu hit .296 with 20 home runs and 100 RBIs for the Yankees in ’08, completing a 2 1/2-year run as the club’s starting right fielder.
While the Yankees would certainly consider Abreu on a one-year basis, as prescribed by the arbitration process, a multiyear deal seems unlikely and the Yankees would take the two Draft picks if the Type A free agent signs elsewhere. New York tentatively projects Xavier Nady as the Opening Day right fielder in ’09.