Hughes Dominant In Latest Rehab Start

Hughes says his changeup was working well

Phil Hughes' rehab tour continued on Tuesday night when he made his fourth start, this time in Triple-A. Hughes did not disappoint the crowd of over 9,000 in Scranton, pitching six shutout innings, fanning seven, while giving up just two hits and a walk. The start paced the local Yankees to a 4-0 win over Louisville, but clearly the story of the night was Hughes.

Phil Hughes threw 73 pitches on the night, 54 of which registered for strikes. He went through the first three innings retiring nine straight batters before giving up his first hit to the leadoff batter in the fourth. He then proceeded to retire the next three batters to get out of the inning.

The only excitement Hughes created on the night came in the fifth, when he started off the inning giving up a double, then surrendering a walk. After the third batter of the inning reached base successfully after a failed attempt by Hughes to get a force out at third base, he found himself in a quagmire - bases loaded, no outs.

Hughes proceeded to force a short fly-out to left, then struck out two straight batters with ease, showing the Scranton fans the guts that got him promoted to the big leagues in the first place back in April.

"It was good to throw out of the stretch and throw some good pitches," Hughes said about wiggling out of the jam. "From a selfish standpoint, it was good to get out of an inning like that because if they got a hit it would have been a different ballgame."

In the sixth, Hughes breezed through the heart of the Louisville lineup, striking out the final two batters he faced looking. Hughes earned the win and afterwards, talked about the importance of pitching more than a couple of innings in Scranton [Hughes' longest start during his rehab before Tuesday was a four inning outing on July 18th with Trenton].

"The biggest thing about tonight [Tuesday] was that I had enough time to see where I was and make some adjustments," he said. "When you're only throwing two or three innings, you just go out there and throw. You don't adjust to anything. Tonight, if I had to fix something, I could work on it in the fourth, fifth or sixth."

Adjusting, according to Hughes, is what he did from the start of the game.

"Early on, I was struggling with my fastball," he said. "I was throwing strikes, but they weren't good strikes. I was missing up and missing over the plate."

Eventually, Hughes got the kinks worked out with his fastball. One of the differences the righty found was in his delivery after working on it with Scranton pitching coach Dave Eiland.

"I worked on getting my arm up and out, as my arm kind of dropped a little bit my last outing," he said. "So, I was trying to get a good downward angle on my fastball. That was a biggest difference."

For the negatives Hughes elaborated on, the positives outweighed them in his furthest outing of his minor league rehab.

"I was getting good play on the fastball," he said. "The velocity was fine at 93 [MPH]. I also threw a lot of good changeups tonight. I think I only threw two for balls."

In the end, Hughes is just happy to be on the field again and was invigorated by a Scranton crowd that stood up and cheered for him each time he got two strikes on a batter.

"It was cool to see that," he said. "You never see that in Triple-A. It [the rehab start] was a good time. The entire rehab thing was such a frustrating time, so it feels good to finally be back."

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