Over the weekend, George King of the NY Post wrote about the fifth starter competition between Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, and, included in King’s article was an interesting tidbit regarding Hughes’ changeup, which he has been developing this spring. Apparently, Hughes has altered his grip of the pitch, going from a split-grip change – which, I believe, was somewhat similar to Ian Kennedy’s vulcan changeup – to a circle change. “I tweaked it a little bit,” said Hughes. “I am back to the circle change and getting a feel for it.” Hughes had gone from the circle changeup grip to the split-finger changeup grip last year, during Spring Training, so the “tweak” is not necessarily earth-shattering.
Manager Joe Girardi stated that Hughes’ changeup has looked effective during bullpen sessions, however, according to King, Girardi will wait to “reserve judgment until he sees how hitters react to it when they take their bats off the shoulders.” “You want to see the deception it has when hitters are swinging in a game,” noted Girardi in reference to the pitch. “But, I like the progress he has made and we need to keep on him and tell him to continue to use it.” Hughes hopes to reincorporate the change within his repertoire this season after rarely using it as a reliever a year ago.
From Burnett to Hughes, there’s a big changeup theme to this spring. Everyone wants to be like CC, I guess…
Photo by the AP