But He's Just So.... Cerebral...
Nice piece on Mike Mussina tutoring the youngsters in today's Journal News. Actually the press has seemed to be a lot kinder to Mussina over the past couple of seasons - probably because they had to deal with the Big Headache and realized how much easier it was to deal with the Moose.
"If you're a young guy on a team like this, it can be hard to go up to somebody," 20-year-old right-hander Phil Hughes said. "Sometimes all you can do is listen and try and take things in. But Mike is not one of those guys who keeps to himself. You feel comfortable if you have something to ask him."
For Hughes, that moment came last season as he was working on command of his curveball. Knowing Mussina has one of the best curves in the game, Hughes asked how he held it.
A good curveball rotates off the middle finger and has a tight spin. But Hughes was having trouble keeping his index finger off the ball, leaving his curveball looking more like a loose slider. Mussina showed him how to bend his index finger to get it out of the way and dig his fingernail into the ball.
Now Hughes has a formidable curveball, the kind that causes heads to shake.
"Mike showed me what he used," Hughes said. "I had been using a similar grip, but I changed it a little. We talked about the variables."
"Moose takes it upon himself. It's wonderful," Torre said. "Any time you can get somebody with his ability and intelligence to communicate with young pitchers, it's great."
"For the relievers, Mo (Rivera) is the guy they go to because he has been through so much," Mussina said. "For the starters, it's me. There is no substitute for experiencing it and going through things yourself. But to have somebody to talk to helps considerably. It's good when you know somebody in the clubhouse cares about you."
Hughes with a Mussina-esque curve? Ok, now teach him the circle change and I'll get the Cy Young trophy ready.
posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 12:26 PM