Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Hughes Debuts Tonight
2007-04-26 05:17
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Andy Pettitte was scheduled to pitch last night, but after the game was warshed-out, he's being pushed to Friday, when Boston comes to town for a weekend series. Which means Phillip Hughes will start tonight as previously planned. After Chase Wright's poor outing at Fenway last weekend, the Yankees are intent on keeping the pressure off Hughes, who'll be plenty anxious anyhow, as he makes his big league debut (Cliff will be at the game tonight and hopefully will have some flicks for us to check out in the a.m.).

"I don't know how he's going to handle it," catcher Jorge Posada said. "We all hope he is going to handle it well. He's very smart. He understands what's going on. The last two spring trainings he carried himself real well so we're looking forward to it."

..."I feel like I've really come a long way in just a few starts," Hughes said, "especially that last start that I had went real well."

That last start was against Syracuse, Toronto's triple-A team. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said they'll learn what they can from the Chiefs but they expect Hughes to pitch well.

"He's thought very highly of," Gibbons said. "Arguably, they say the best pitcher in the minor leagues. So we know he'll be bringing it pretty good."
Jay Cohen, Toronto Sun,

A.J. Burnett, who can be awfully tough to handle when he's on will start for the Jays.

It's funny, while Em and I were away on our marrymoon, I promised her that I wouldn't let myself get crazy no matter what happened in Boston. I said, "I just won't watch any of the games, the Yanks will be lucky not to get swept anyway." Then, we caught A Rod hit a dinger off Schilling on Friday night and watched the rest of the game, only to witness Mo blow a lead. No problem, hey, we just got married. Life is bigger than the Yankees or the Red Sox, right? Even I could swing with that given the moment.

The next day, we returned to our room late in the afternoon, and I went to the bathroom to wash up. When I returned, there was my bride sneaking a peak at the game. (Yes, I appreciate how good I have it.) So we watched portions of that game. Again, the Yanks lost, and again, I kept my composure. Perspective, man, perspective, I can hang with this. But I absolutely refused to watch the Sunday night game. Matsuzaka is way too imposing, I reasoned. I can't bear to listen to the ESPN guys, and stay up late, just to see him crush the Bombers. Why can't a pitcher like that--who is wondefully entertaining--be on any team but Boston for crying out loud? But once again, we found ourselves cliking over to check the score, and all considering the Yanks held their own against him.

Still, I didn't lose any sleep. I read some of the comment threads here and was grateful that I wasn't getting as worked-up as I normally would. The Yankee offense was good all weekend and Alex Rodriguez continued to hit the ball well, so it wasn't a total bust. Plus, wouldn't you know it, but the resort we were staying at was filthy with Red Sox fans. I met a few of them, chatted them up, and they were cool, dangit. One dude, Paul, a classic-looking, Trot Nixon-lovin, die-hard, was particularly cool, and we rapped about the series with the green-blue ocean in the background.

But all bets were off by Tuesday night however, and as I slumped on our couch back in the Bronx after Myers gave up the grand slam to Carl Crawford ("Hey Em, we're home, and they've lost five straight, can I be at least a little grumpy now?"). Yet as lousy a couple of days as the Yanks have had, they've had worse starts under Joe Torre, as Steve Lombardi points out. Let's hope tonight is the start of something good.

Comments (77)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-04-26 06:18:11
1.   Sliced Bread
Welcome back from paradise, Alex, and congrats again to you and your baseball lovin' bride.

Indeed, "let's hope tonight is the start of something good."

Win or lose I think it is.

Based on a bit of Hughes hype I heard a few guys exchanging at the deli this morning fans need to realize that Hughes will not be heating up the Stadium radar gun tonight.
With the Scranton'esque damp chill in the air figure he'll be topping out at about 91 or 92.

Hopefully his curve will be on, and his change up is big league enough to keep the Jays sluggers off balance.

Hopefully he'll keep his composure and show everybody what he can do.

Let's go, #65!

2007-04-26 06:20:40
2.   Yankee Fan In Boston
i didn't start getting anxious until my boy mr. crawford hit that meatball.

i'm glad they took the day off.

the email that sent me about the cancellation said that the game was postponed due to "a forecast of inclement weather" or something extremely close to that.

i love that the team took a personal day.

hopefully tonight will be the night we look back upon and declare to be The Turning Point.

congrats, alex. sounds like you hit the jackpot.

2007-04-26 06:20:42
3.   Yankee Fan In Boston
i didn't start getting anxious until my boy mr. crawford hit that meatball.

i'm glad they took the day off.

the email that sent me about the cancellation said that the game was postponed due to "a forecast of inclement weather" or something extremely close to that.

i love that the team took a personal day.

hopefully tonight will be the night we look back upon and declare to be The Turning Point.

congrats, alex. sounds like you hit the jackpot.

2007-04-26 06:21:22
4.   Murray
Welcome back.

Did they really give Hughes 65 to wear? Pete Sheehy would have given the kid 41 or some sort of respectable pitcher number. 65 screams "Columbus Shuttle."

2007-04-26 06:21:50
5.   Yankee Fan In Boston
2 3 sorry.
2007-04-26 06:22:04
6.   Sliced Bread
Can someone please explain how 75? year old Regis Philbin can return to work 6 weeks after heart bypass surgery, while Pavano remains on the shelf with what, writer's cramp?
2007-04-26 06:22:42
7.   Yankee Fan In Boston
4 they offered him 19, but he wanted 65. he didn't want to change anything.
2007-04-26 06:24:41
8.   Yankee Fan In Boston
6 i think it was writer's block.
2007-04-26 06:25:50
9.   mehmattski
6 Philbin has a better curveball.

So, I've confirmed that Extra Innings won't have a feed for tonight's game. Does anyone know if that's also true for They have a line available for it on the multimedia schedule page, but the links won't be clickable until game time. I would really hate to have to listen to the most important game of the year so far on the radio.

2007-04-26 06:28:50
10.   Zuma Jay
I was talking to my high school buddy who lives in Boston now and he put in in perspective for me. He said, "Yeah the Red Sox always beat up on the Yankees in April. But in September its a different story."
2007-04-26 06:30:06
11.   JL25and3
Who's this Belth kid they've got writing now? He's not bad, he should be a regular.
2007-04-26 06:30:07
12.   Shawn Clap
Yo, welcome back indeed!

I find it amazing that Hughes will be the only first round draft pick to play for the Yanks since Derek Jeter. And Jeter was drafted way back in 1992.

Newsday had a rundown of the Yank's woeful 1st round picks:

2007-04-26 06:30:18
13.   rbj
6 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 K.

That's my guess. Oh, and a big fat W!

2007-04-26 06:38:07
14.   Shaun P
Welcome back Alex, glad you had a safe trip and a fun marrymoon!

9 I'm looking for the same info. I'll gladly sign up for the free 5-day trial just to be able to see Hughes's first outing. Wish I lived closer so I too could be at the game tonight, like Cliff, Emma, and all the other Banterers who said they'll be there.

12 If you go back to the 70s, you find a bunch of halfway decent 1st round picks by the Yanks - most of whom did their thing elsewhere. Good discussion about it at the end of the last thread.

2007-04-26 06:41:28
15.   Yankee Fan In Boston
9 if the game isn't on, i'm going to throw things. i haven't been able to get audio with any of the games i've watched thus far... (not that there has been anything much worth listening to of late).

a blackout tonight would push me past all limits of my tolerance.

2007-04-26 06:44:22
16.   Sliced Bread
65 is a funky number.
Hopefully Hughes wears it better than Irabu.
Stanley wore it well for a while.

Soriano wore #66 for a few games when he came up.

Bernie rocked #63 for a couple minutes.

Wonder how many #65 jerseys they're selling at the Yanks prop shops today.

2007-04-26 06:54:17
17.   vockins
I'm backing 65. It'll look cool.
2007-04-26 06:54:42
18.   Andre
Anyone heard about Gary Thorn's comments on the Orioles/Sox play by play last night? Thorn said Mirabelli told him a few years ago that the infamous bloody sock was a staged PR stunt. We might all have thought that anyway, but it's causing all kinds of craziness up here now. I'm sure it will be discussed during the Yanks/Sox games this weekend.
2007-04-26 06:55:59
19.   Simone
Welcome back, Alex and Emily!

I'll settle for Hughes having a good game tonight. I'm becoming afraid to hope for a win.

Have you seen the dust up over the red splotch Schilling's sock? Ha. I knew it was fake.

2007-04-26 06:56:41
20.   seamus
15 why wouldn't you be able to get audio? I have had no problems with I think that has all of the non-blacked out games. I haven't missed a game because of mlbtv at all (not even the blackouts thanks to...).
2007-04-26 07:01:52
21.   Sliced Bread
Now all we need is Schilling's scandalous tell-all, and Fox-TV special:

"If I Did Doctor The Sock, Here's How It Happened"

2007-04-26 07:08:07
22.   Sliced Bread
Did Schill escape from the game last night in a white Ford Bronco?

Seriously, why would Thorn make up a doozy like that?

2007-04-26 07:13:11
23.   JL25and3
12 Except for 1993, the Yankees were in the bottom half of the round. If you look at the drafts, there are really surprisingly few hot picks left at that point. Fault them for passing on Bonderman, I suppose, though HS pitchers are such a crap shoot; otherwise, there aren't a lot of gold nuggets they missed.
2007-04-26 07:19:30
24.   Yankee Fan In Boston
22 i think the whole paint/blood thing is hysterical.

it was 2 years ago. why should anyone care?

not a single keystroke on it over at schilling's blog. ...the silence before the storm.

i'm guessing he'll be livid, whether he shows it or not. that sock was what he was banking on to get him to the HOF. his numbers are borderline, if you ask me.

...which none of you did.

2007-04-26 07:29:23
25.   Sliced Bread
24 Let the recriminations fly. I love it. Typical Sox shenanigans made funnier by the fact that the "smoking gun" is a sock painted red.
At least we can laugh about it now.
2007-04-26 07:35:48
26.   Jen
I heard on the radio yesterday that he stuck with 65 because he likes numbers that end in 5. And it was the lowest number they had for him.
2007-04-26 07:37:29
27.   seamus
26 he should have made up a story about a bloody jersey or something...
2007-04-26 07:44:07
28.   Cliff Corcoran
Hughes wore #50 in Trenton last year and had a #45 jersey pictured on the old version of his web site (oddly, that's Pavano's number). I seem to remember during spring training them saying they were holding #36 for him. So much for that. I forgot to check to see what number he was wearing in Scranton.
2007-04-26 07:50:29
29.   Yankee Fan In Boston
28 i read someplace that he was handed 65 in spring training, wore it in AAA, and just didn't want to change a thing.

who knows.

i also thought i read a while back that he was hoping for #35.

could you imagine what must be going on inside that kid's head this morning?

oh, to be 20 years old and have so much potential...

2007-04-26 07:51:01
30.   Sliced Bread
28 If Hughes still wants #45 it should be available shortly.
2007-04-26 07:53:49
31.   Sliced Bread
28 29 If I recall correctly, Hughes told Michael Kay that he was considering Jaret Wright's old #34, but Henn's wearing that now.
2007-04-26 07:57:12
32.   Yankee Fan In Boston
31 34... that was it. yup.
2007-04-26 07:58:24
33.   Sliced Bread
31 Yes, we discussed it here back in February:

Hughes wore #45 in high school. That was his first choice. He told Kay #34 would be his second choice.

Yo, Henn! Give Chase Wright yer mitt, and Hughes yer digits!

2007-04-26 08:08:05
34.   JL25and3
33 Hey, at least Henn is using his jersey. Why not let Hughes borrow Pavano's, as long as it's just gathering dust?
2007-04-26 08:08:43
35.   mehmattski
24 And... maybe Torre and the Yankees knew that the sock was a PR stunt and that's why the Yankees didn't try to bunt on him. Yup. That's what I'm going to tell myself now...
2007-04-26 08:18:01
36.   Bama Yankee
24 So, instead of the "Bled Zeppelin" I guess we should call him the "Red Sharpie Zeppelin"?
2007-04-26 08:26:39
37.   Max Nomad
35 What's all this about a fake bloddy sock?
2007-04-26 08:27:43
38.   seamus
I'm so nervous for this kid. We have so much potentially riding on him, and you know this is a huge deal for him. And you know he knows that if he really performs he'll stay no matter who gets healthy. I hope he delivers too. All of a sudden we could have a rotation of Pettitte, Moose, Wang, Hughes, +one!
2007-04-26 08:31:40
39.   Matt B
See Alex, you leave town for a week and all hell breaks loose. Welcome back and congrats. Chances are, it's Em who's the Yanks' good luck charm, though.
2007-04-26 08:43:24
40.   yankz
Don't worry guys, I have never been to a game where the Yankees lost, and I'm going tonight. Fine, I've only been to about five, but still.
2007-04-26 08:48:33
41.   Max Nomad
40 I'll be there yankz. Where you sittin'?
2007-04-26 08:52:24
42.   Max Nomad
40 I think I'm in Tier 16, but never end up where my tickets say I should. I usually find myself 10-15 rows to the left of home plate on the third base side, on the lower level.
2007-04-26 08:56:58
43.   Cliff Corcoran
40 That was true of me once too, a long, long, long time ago.

I really think this is a one-shot for Hughes. Moose will be activated in a week, there's an off day Monday, and the rain out prevents them from having to throw both Karstens and Igawa this time through the rotation, which also means that, if they go with Igawa Saturday, they'll want to get another look at Karstens before they decide to swap him out for Hughes (or Rasner for that matter).

Also there's the matter of his 180 innings limit. If they keep him in the major league rotation from today forward, he's going to sail by that mark without even taking a potential playoff run into account.

I really think he's going back to Scranton after tonight no matter what he does. But I also think he'll be back in a month or two, that time for good.

2007-04-26 08:59:33
44.   seamus
43 I was wondering about this. So, if Hughes pitches, say 7 innings of 2 hit, shutout ball with 9 Ks and 1 BB. He probably won't do that good, but speculatively speaking, how do you send a guy back to Scranton after that?
2007-04-26 09:03:45
45.   Sliced Bread
44 especially if Igawa and Karstens pitch poorly on Saturday. Eek, if Igawa gets knocked out early would they bring in Karstens to mop up?
Oh, why bother pondering the worst case scenario? It's the kid's big day.

As Giambi or Damon might say, "I'm totally stoked."

2007-04-26 09:11:52
46.   Cliff Corcoran
44 Because you don't want him to go all Mark Prior on you. If they can keep him on that 180 IP target this year, they should be able to get a full major league season out of him next year, though he's so young they might still want to be careful about his work loads for a few years beyond this one.
2007-04-26 09:17:19
47.   yankz
42 I think tier 30, but I'll have to check again. And yeah, hopefully I'll find some seats much closer.
2007-04-26 09:22:12
48.   Cliff Corcoran
45 They'll need a pitcher for Tuesday's game. I assume they'll hold back the other of Karstens or Igawa for that. Pettitte will start Wed, Moose is back Thurs, and then things start to repeat
2007-04-26 09:23:50
49.   seamus
46 I understand the "why" of why you would do it. But realistically there is a question of what the team might do given our current pitching situation, don't you think? Maybe I'm not asking a question so much as pondering the predicament that Cash & co might find themselves in. speculatively speaking.
2007-04-26 09:28:55
50.   Jim Dean
I'm with Cliff - I can't see them keeping him up. If they're in a predicament where they truly need Hughes, then they're going to be so far gone that it won't matter. But, between injuries and trades, Hughes will be back this year.

I'd be surprised if they didn't hold Karstens for Tuesday. He already got shelled once by Boston, and I don't think they'll give up (even symbolically) on Igawa quite yet.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-04-26 09:29:44
51.   dianagramr

... but he's no Emma Span!

(I kid I kid .... they're both top notch!)

Welcome back Alex .... congrats on the nuptials.

2007-04-26 09:31:49
52.   seamus
50 yeah, I don't disagree with Cliff. I think that would be best for Hughes and the Yankees in the long run. I'm just not sure that the temptation of keeping Hughes up if he shows up in his debut may not be too much temptation.
2007-04-26 09:38:24
53.   Max Nomad
52 I think that because the team was so willing to go with it's current rotation, health pending, once the team is back (can't REALLY count on Pavs) Hughes goes back down. Even if he dominates, all it will do is accelerate his training in AAA, meaning more pitches and more innings/start, because the only factor that will have been removed from his unknowns is that he can get MLB hitters out. On the chance he struggles, I think he just goes back to his old routine.
2007-04-26 09:38:58
54.   Jim Dean
52 They've been overly cautious so far. Keeping him up for the whole season would undo all of that work. I just can't see it evevn if he throw a no-hitter with 20 K's.
2007-04-26 09:39:05
55.   Zack
I would put my figure around 6 IP, 3ER, 2BB, 6K tonight. The weather, the nerves etc all combine to give Phil a decent, QS, but nothing like the no-nothings are expecting. He gets one more start, and then goes down for two months, at which point he's up for good when the weather's warm and he's riding a 30 inning scoreless streak in SWB...
2007-04-26 09:48:44
56.   Max Nomad
55 Yea, I think if he does well here, contrary to what I may have thought earlier, then he's shown he can get MLB hitters out and merely needs his innings restricted, meaning 4 IP type outings at SWB until later in the year when he joins NY.
2007-04-26 09:51:24
57.   mhmitch
To change the subject for a moment, the A's just sent veteran backup catcher Adam Melhuse to the minors. He is pretty despondent about that and his general lack of playing time in Oakland over the past few years(see Catfish Stew for details). Brad Halsey just issued a diatribe against the A's management for being cheap a few days ago so they are probably going to try to move him. Perhaps if Cashman agreed to take the sore-armed Halsey back, he could get Melhuse (who I think can hit if given the chance) for not much in return.
2007-04-26 09:53:17
58.   Zack
And the game will almost certainly be on tonight. The only games I've ever not caught is the stupid Fox games...
2007-04-26 09:54:47
59.   Max Nomad
58 Proxies, baby, proxies
2007-04-26 09:56:31
60.   mehmattski
58 I hope you're right. It will be annoying to keep reloading the feed every time it gets stuck, rather than watching on my TV, but yous takes what yous can get, right?

Oh, and: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K (ND)

Gets taken out with a runner on second and two outs in the seventh with the Yankees up 3-2. Kyle Farnsworth promptly gives up a 2 run homer to Frank Thomas. I promptly give up my dinner to the garbage can.

2007-04-26 09:57:55
61.   yankz
6.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Two more A-Bombs from Sylvester and Mo gets his first save.
2007-04-26 10:01:38
62.   NJYankee41
I think it could work out having Hughes up here all year. While I'm not saying I endorse it one way or the other, I think they can treat him like a #5 and skip over him once in a while with off days. Now pair that with Torre's known ability to give starters the hook pretty early and your looking at 165-180 innings possibly. There are some decent pitchers who pitch a whole year and still get only 180 innings. I don't disagree with people who want to be careful with him, cause I want him for the long run as well, but I do think its workable if they do choose to use him up here all year. We can only wait and see.
2007-04-26 10:02:53
63.   Jim Dean
A great solution that Cliff mentioned way back when, but I just can't see the Yanks doing it:

Huge as an extra arm in the pen. If he came in twice a week for two inning stints, he could get regular work against MLB hitters, restrict his innings, and help the team.


2007-04-26 10:06:28
64.   Max Nomad
Off topic, for your ESPN-bashing pleasure:

2007-04-26 10:08:55
65.   mehmattski
One thing I haven't seen mentioned much: What is Hughes' pitch count for today? I can't imagine that 80 pitches is the limit tonight. If the plan is to send him back to Scranton after this start, then I don't see why Hughes can't hit 100 pitches, if he's effective. He can then take some time off before his next start in Scranton. There's no reason to handicap the team by forcing him out of the game with a shutout, for example.
2007-04-26 10:10:56
66.   seamus
65 I seriously doubt that he isn't on a pitch count. I'd guess 80-90.
2007-04-26 10:17:24
67.   Max Nomad
66 Yea, his pitch count was 80-85 in SWB.
2007-04-26 10:18:32
68.   rbj
Let's see, Yankees have 143 games left, divide that by 5 starters = 28.6 starts per, for a #5 guy let's say it is 26 starts. A six inning limit means 156 innings for Hughes as a #5 starter, then 24 innings out of the pen for October. It is doable, but depends upon 1) how many pitches he throws in those six innings and 2) having a reliable, um, "finisher" for the 7th through 9th innings. Maybe Igawa?
Wang, Pettitte, Moose, Clemens/Karstens/Rasner/trade as the top 4.
2007-04-26 10:21:22
69.   Shaun P
63 The old Earl Weaver "break 'em in through the pen" - though IIRC Weaver advocated using kids as long guys, not as set-up guys. Its a great idea in theory, but given how Torre uses relievers, might be awful in practice.
2007-04-26 10:29:23
70.   OldYanksFan
If you look at the last 40 years, how many aces have we developed? Ford, Stots, Guidry and a nod for Pettitte. Anyone I'm missing?
If Hughes stays healthy, he represents a 10+ year investment for us. Using terms like 'babying him' is insulting. You don't play catch with a Ming vase.

Over at Lohud, Peter posted how many innings of Pro ball this kid has pitched in the last 3 years: 2004: 5.0, 2005: 86.1, 2006: 152. My God! He's practically a virgin! 180 innings is a lot considering.

The kid is 20 and still growing. Stress and injuries on a body still 'developing' have much worse long term effects that do injuries you get as an adult. So the difference between 20 and 23 is huge.

What might he do in his first 1/2 year? A 3.5-4.0 ERA? That 1.5 runs better then we should get from Karstens/Rasner. Do you think it's worth the slightest chance of hurting this kid to gain 1.5 runs every 5 games? And anyone who has played any sport knows that playing under emotional stress creates much greater physical stress.

I'm excited to see him, but I can wait till next year (and at my age,that's risky).

2007-04-26 10:40:22
71.   OldYanksFan
According to ESPN: "In an Oct. 20, 2004 interview on The Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio, Schilling says he bled from his ankle because a suture got stuck or fell out during his Game 6 appearance."

Mirabelli STRONGLY denies saying it was not blood. Schill and Francona are shocked.

My question is: If a suture popped causing the blood, wouldn't the Docs glue/sew/bubblegum him back together, and bind it so no further bleeding or damage would occur? After this, would they put the same 'bloody' sock back on?

It may have been 2 years ago, but that sock is in the HOF and the story is legend. If it's not true, it should be found out.


2007-04-26 10:41:54
72.   YankeeInMichigan
I recall Will Carrol saying that a pitcher under age 22 should never throw more than 90 pitches (or something to that effect).

Is anyone familiar with the "super 2" rule? Does Hughes' callup virtually lock his arbitration status for 2010 (and free agency status for 2013), or does it depend upon how many days he spends on the roster this year?

2007-04-26 11:00:10
73.   Shaun P
72 You're right, it depends on actual service time, which is time spent on the major league roster.

So, even though Hughes gets called up now, let's say he gets sent back down for 6 weeks after today (or however long it is). He could still not get enough time to qualify as a "Super 2".

71 I recall someone saying that of course it was a load of crap, that the stain would have changed color as the blood dried if it was real blood. I can't remember where I heard or read it, though. Any thoughts, or am I dreaming this up?

2007-04-26 11:11:04
74.   JL25and3
72 I don't know if they changed it in the new CBA - I still haven't seen the text of it available anywhere. According to the old CBA, a player's eligible after 2 years + 86 days in year 3, ir if he's in the top 17% of 2+ players.
2007-04-26 11:16:42
75.   Yankee Fan In Boston
73 i saw the blessed sock at the HOF about a year ago. i had remembered hearing speculation, so i looked to see if it was indeed blood.

as i leaned closer to the case containing the thing, i realized that it is quite possible that if the bloody sock thing was a hoax, they could easily have thrown some blood onto another one, and shipped the new, phony-but-blood-soaked sock to cooperstown.


i'm starting the second sock theory. you're welcome, mr. scorcese.

if we're going to talk conspiracy theories, we might as well make 'em big.

2007-04-26 11:22:36
76.   dianagramr

I think Dickie "Grassy" Noles had a hand in this whole episode.

2007-04-26 11:26:30
77.   Yankee Fan In Boston
76 i was trying for a grassy knoll line, but came up empty.

this is why i love this place.

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