LADY AT THE BAT: A J Burnett Buys The Hughes Corporation

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A J Burnett Buys The Hughes Corporation

A J Burnett and the Blue Jays shut out the Yankees tonight, 6-0. That old adage is certainly true: Good pitching stops good hitting. The only thing about the game Yankee fans could cheer about was Phil Hughes. He finally made his long-awaited ML debut, giving up 2 quick runs in the first inning. After that he settled down some, going 4 1/3 innings, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits and 1 walk, striking out 5. He threw 91 pitches, 53 of which were strikes. There have been worse ML debuts.

He throws an assortment of pitches: a spotted fast ball in the low 90's, a very effective curve ball and a change-up. He's also started throwing a slider again (per the Yankees' permission), which he hasn't thrown since high school. On the YES Network broadcast, Al Leiter said the slider puts a lot of strain on a pitcher's elbow and the Yankees didn't want to risk injuring their crown jewel.

The Yankees' kid glove handling of Hughes is well-known. Until tonight, the most pitches he'd thrown in a game was 89, and they made sure they didn't extend him much beyond that. They're well aware of the long list of young phenom pitching prospects who've fallen to injury over the last few years (due, in large part to over-use), including Francisco Liriano, Mark Prior, (King) Felix Hernandez and Kerry Wood. They'll do anything they can to keep Phil Hughes off that list.

Nice going, Phil.

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