TAMPA, Fla. — CC Sabathia knows what Phil Hughes is going through.
Sabathia has learned to cope with a loss of velocity and the 37-year-old left-hander went 14-5 for the New York Yankees last year in his best season since 2012.
Hughes, a 31-year-old right-hander, was limited to 26 games during the past two seasons because of injuries, mostly to his shoulder as a result of thoracic outlet syndrome, which that required a rib to be removed. Hughes went just 4-10 with a 5.92 ERA in 112 2/3 innings over the last two years.
He had an encouraging outing for Minnesota on Monday night, limiting the Yankees to one run and four hits over four innings. He struck out three and walked none
“Keep these guys off balance,” Hughes said. “If my velocity isn’t what it used to be, and that’s a permanent thing, at least I have some fall back options. I’m going to try to adapt and adjust as much as I can to be productive without that 93, 94 (mph).”
Hughes and Sabathia were teammates on the 2009 Yankees’ World Series champions.
“He’s kind of reinvented himself,” Hughes said. “A lot of people thought he was done.”
The pair have discussed the adjustments needed with age.
“You’ve got to try and trick them with the stuff you’ve got,” Sabathia said.
Twins manager Paul Molitor said Hughes is pitching during spring training to prove he deserves more regular-season innings.
“All I can do is be as productive as I can and show that I’m back to at least close now to form,” Hughes said. “If I can do that, the very least it makes some tough decisions.”
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