2/22/2008 11:26:00 AM

Girardi: Hughes Is A "Thoroughbred"

Posted by Mark McCray |

Bryan Hoch of Yankees.com had a great piece on Phil Franchise and his pitching mechanics this morning:

Having just completed receiving Phil Hughes' latest bullpen session, an impressed Jose Molina told Posada, "You know what? Phil looks like he has more pop."

Posada concurred, and the backstops aren't the only ones who have noticed.

Said manager Joe Girardi: "You watch him and he leads the groups in running. He just looks like an athlete, a thoroughbred and a leader."

Hughes confirms he's hitting the glove with more force than in his debut season, when he won five games for New York, plus one more in the playoffs. But more importantly, he has confidence that nothing else will go wrong.

"It's not so much the velocity," Hughes said. "It's really the fact that I've felt more comfortable and I've been able to trust my body. I don't have any inklings or thoughts in the back of my head that something will flare up again. I think that's the key, to trust all my pitches and finish everything."

It helps, of course, that Hughes heeded the call for better fitness. Girardi let it be known that Spring Training '08 would not be a country club, and Hughes showed up ready to go. Spending weeks over at the Minor League complex under the supervision of pitching coach Dave Eiland have been paying dividends early.

"He's in great shape," Girardi said. "All the reports on him that I saw from when he was working down at Himes said he was different this year. That he'd worked really hard."

Hughes added, "I know what I expect out of myself and what my goals are this year. There are no guarantees. You have to go out and earn every bit of what you want."
It looks like Phil is really trying to earn his keep. Things will be different this year Yankee fans-- you can bet on that.

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