Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hughes can handle the Hughes Rules

David Cone said something incredibly insightful about Phil Hughes yesterday on Mike Francesa's talk show. Cone said that the young right hander is evolving and showing the ability to adapt to all situations. This will be an important trait for him over the next few months, with the coming of the Hughes Rules.

Designed to protect the young pitcher from blowing out his arm, the rules are well-intended by the New York Yankees. But as shown with Joba Chamberlain last year, it's easy to mess them up and disrupt a young pitcher's development. While not coming out and criticizing the Joba Rules, his interview yesterday with Francesa was quite telling. "It's nice not to have any rules," Chamberlain said.

But Joba has high praise for Hughes, who Joba said has handled everything that's happened in the last two seasons perfectly.

"He could have folded when they put him in the bullpen," Chamberlain said. "He did a tremendous job and that speaks a lot about him as an individual. Not only as a baseball player. That speaks for itself. But for an individual to do one thing his whole career and ... to go to the bullpen and embrace the role. I think the things he did last year carried over. He doesn't give in and he always has a plan and he knows what he's going to do."

Cone and Chamberlain believe Hughes can handle anything that comes his way. I agree. Hughes has shown a maturity uncommon in young players, something he learned under the tutelage of the great Mariano Rivera last year. But he has taken it to a new level this year and that has contributed to his tremendous success, unlikely to be derailed by the Hughes Rules.

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