Where does a pitcher's velocity go when it disappears? That might be an easy question to answer with a veteran pitcher nearing the end of his career. Not so easy, however, when you are talking about a 24-year-old who won 18 games a season ago and should be getting better.
Yet, Phil Hughes and the New York Yankees are asking that question after Hughes began the season with a pair of miserable starts. He lugs a 16.50 ERA to the mound tonight (7:05 p.m., YES) as the Yankees face the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium.
Hughes' fastball has been clocking in at 88-90 mph this season, after regularly being 92-94 a season ago. For that matter, his big curveball has been non-existent, as has his ability to throw the ball where he wants to.
If you have any ideas where velocity hides when it takes a vacation write to Hughes care of the Yankees. Right now it seems the young right-hander can use all the help he can get finding his stuff again. The Yankees certainly need for him to get straightened out.
Jake Arietta pitches tonight for Baltimore.