Chad Jennings, from LoHud, who has been writing excellent interviews:
"Hughes has looked good this spring, and today he was particularly sharp. Girardi said he never even checked on Hughes' velocity because he was happy with the swings he was getting. He thought the ball was getting on hitters quickly, and he thought his offspeed stuff was good.
"I worked all my pitches," Hughes said. "Didn't throw as many cutters, threw more changeups today, which was good. That was something I wanted to do. My breaking ball was good and I felt like my fastball was coming out of my hand pretty well. I've been talking about making a step every time I go out there and today was another step."
[ I would like to interject here that it was the repeated good curves, thrown mainly for called strikes, that were outstanding. Bryce Harper showed his cleverness, on 3 and 2, I'm thinking -Phil forced his decision - by altering his swing plane to hit the curve down by his knee. The odd swing produced a fungo-like pop.
His curve was ballyhooed earlier in his prospectancy. It may be back, with great command. While I rejoiceth at a much improved weapon, I still think Phil needs a changeup or at least, more bite on his cutter. He can fight them, and win when fb and curve are both there, but we just lived through the downside of that repertoire with AJ. And, no, please don't rely again on the knuckle curve, with ball splashing in the dirt. At least not except as a surprise, on the occasional 2-strike count.
It occurs to me, as we've witnessed Phil battling to get strike 3, that he may unwisely share the stat crowd's preference for the strikeout beyond reason. That's when he should use the cutter to get a groundout. Or he can throw that good curve for a strike, and get a call, a foul, a popup or a swinging miss, if it's a good one like today's. END]
"Couldn't blame the guy, though, if he heard some footsteps coming up behind him.
"I love Andy," Hughes said. "He's awesome. I worry about the things I can control and that's it. All I can control is the work I do, the work I do out on the field. ... What's going to happen is going to happen. I'm just going to do all that I can do and that's it. Andy has been here before, I've been in this situation before and that's the end of it. Everyone in here is excited for him to come back. You could tell when he was here (as an instructor) that he wanted to come back. I think everyone kind of had an idea at some point - we didn't know it was going to be the next week - but it is what it is."
[ I derive a shred of ambivalence or doubt in Phil's last sentence, following an excellent articulation of acceptance. I'm a fan of Phil, springing from his right-thinking decision in May, '09, of the bullpen over Scranton. He wanted to start, but he wanted to stay, so he said to himself that he would pitch his lights out to stay. And they made him a starter again. So, I hope he will rely on his ability, again.
Leave it to CC to put it in a nutshell... END]
"Sabathia on the addition of Pettitte to the rotation competition: "Hopefully everybody steps their game up and makes it a tough decision. We'll just have to wait and see what happens. Use that as a challenge to go out and make yourself better."