It takes a certain testicular fortitude to find success in New York. Many have come to the Yankees for the fat paycheck and promise of eternal glory. Some make it, and some shrink before it. The Jury is still out on Phil Hughes, but the Yanks would be nuts to give up on him now.
Hughes has been in the unenviable position of having essentially grown up in front of the bright lights of Yankee Stadium. He's gone through the awkward growing pains but even as early as 2007, as a rookie, we saw him stand in for the shriveled remains of Roger Clemens and become a man. Yankees fan surely saw what Rex Ryan believed he saw in Vernon Gholston.
Hughes has had a bumpy road ever since. He's faced freak injuries, a mysterious lack of power and just general ineffectiveness. Hughes, to his credit, has the sack to stand in front of his locker every day and answer the tough questions. Burnett, by comparison was traded, for a bag of balls, because he didn't have the cajones to face tough situations. He would lose confidence and then start spraying balls all over the strike zone. Two members of the same team—at the same position—and yet so very different.
The true Ace, like Hughes has the chance to be, sits back. Relaxes. And just thinks about baseball. It's the easiest way to prevent an early exit. A true Ace, a real man, even, also knows his limitation. He knows when to ask for help. "Are my fingers in the right position?" "How is my release point?" "Is there too much torsion?"
Luckily there is Billy Connors. His cup runneth over with baseball knowledge. He can pass on that "it" factor that will make or break you in New York. Hughes would do well to pick his brain.
Photo via New York Daily News