Yankees Rumors & News
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Phil Hughes takes the mound for the Yankees tonight and hopes to change his fortune around as his team goes for their first sweep of the season.

Phil HughesHughes is starting against the White Sox for the first time in his career and coming into tonight’s game he insists he has not lost his confidence after his poor start.

“If I did that would be really bad because of how early it is,” said Hughes. “I don’t look at it like that after a couple of bad starts.”

In four appearances this season Hughes is 0-3 with a 8.82 ERA. In his last outing he gave up just one run through the first five innings before being apart of a seven run sixth inning against the Orioles.

“Stats fluctuate so much early on,” Hughes said. “I have to pitch well and things will take care of themselves. When I was in Trenton a couple years ago, my ERA was about 11 after three starts and things turned out all right. There’s still time to get it down.”

Coming up from the minors Hughes was touted as a power pitcher who regularly threw in the mid-nineties, but so far this season he has sat regularly in the 91 to 93 MPH range. But he insists that his current velocity is normal and his issues have been more due to command than anything else.

“I never threw that hard, even when I was going good at Trenton, I looked at the reports and it was 93,” said Hughes. “There were three times all year (2006) I touched 95.” He went on to say, “It’s more about my command than anything. It all comes back to command, command, command. Your curveball could be the best in the world, but if you don’t throw a fastball for a strike, they’re not going to hit it – they’ll lay off it. It all stems from command of the fastball.”

Without the ability to throw a fastball for a strike when he needs Hughes has not been aggressive attacking the strike zone which has lead to high pitch counts.

“If I get through that sixth inning and my pitch count is low, it’s a completely different ballgame,” Hughes said. “That’s the thing I’ve got to try to stay away from, being so fine. I did a better job of getting ahead in the count. Once I work ahead in the count, I don’t throw too many pitches.”

Despite his issues manager Joe Girardi has not lost faith in the young starter and plans to let him work his issues out on the mound.

“I wouldn’t worry about it unless I saw it in his approach,” Girardi said. “I have not seen his approach change from his good start to his not-so-good start. His work is the same, and he goes about his work the right way. I think he’s focused on what he needs to do.”

Hughes also believes that with more work he’ll perform better on the mound.

“I’ve got to pitch well, and everything will take care of itself,” Hughes said. “I don’t look at a couple of bad starts as the end of the world.”

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