Randy Johnson grazed Johnny Damon yesterday during live batting practice, but the more compelling tidbit is that 19-year old Phillip Hughesimpressed the veteran Yankee hitters during his session. Jorge Posada said he hasn't seen such a live arm since Mariano Rivera was a youngster. "He reminds me of Roger Clemens; that fastball is late," Jason Giambi told the Post. Joe Torre added:
"The thing that is unusual for a kid as young as he is, the curveball is really impressive...It's one of those real tight rotation breaking balls. He is not commanding it like he is going to after more experience, but his stuff is very real."
Joel Sherman has a nice column praising Torre this morning as well:
For the 11th year, he had to deliver an introduction speech to the full Yankee squad on Wednesday. In the wrong hands, this could turn into a forum of rolled eyes and emotional disconnect. But according to the players who heard the words, Torre had not gone stale. As Mike Mussina explained, "He never says anything to give you reason to think, 'oh shut up.' When he speaks, you just realize it is a big deal.' Alex Rodriguez added, "When it is manufactured and artificial, veteran players see through that [garbage]. He has that magic in his voice. It feels as if it is coming from a higher authority."
Torre said his style works because "I'm not trying to sell them anything." Players speak of feeling Torre cares about them and is honest with them...The idea that just anybody could have found the right chords to push [the 2005 team] or handle all that comes with managing the Yankees is silly. Yes, Torre gets to handle the most talent, but it comes with Steinbrenner, gigantic egos, Canyon of Heroes expectations and a media core to rival the White House. To survive, the manager better have thick skin and a soft heart, self-assurance and self-awareness.
This is nothing we don't already know, but it is well put, don't you think? Lastly, our boy Sheff was riffing some to Bob Klap yesterday. Well, what did you expect?