Phil Hughes struggles again as concerns about velocity mount

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Not only hasn’t Phil Hughes’ velocity improved since initially emerging as an issue during spring training, his fastball was slower than ever in last night’s sub par outing against the Orioles.

Hughes allowed five runs in four innings, serving up two homers and managing just one strikeout while his average fastball clocked in at a season-low 89.1 miles per hour. For comparison, Hughes’ fastball averaged 93.3 mph during the past two seasons.

Through three starts he has a 13.94 ERA and .396 opponents’ batting average with more walks than strikeouts and Ben Shpigel of the New York Times speculates that the Yankees “will almost certainly discuss whether they are best served taking advantage of the two days off next week to skip his turn in the rotation.”

In addition to the significantly decreased velocity readings, Shpigel also notes that Hughes has gotten a grand total of two swings-and-misses from the 96 fastballs he’s thrown this year. Hughes called the whole situation “baffling” and added: “I don’t even know what to say at this point.”

Video: Corey Dickerson breaks scoreless tie with walk-off home run

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Neither the Pirates nor the Tigers could manage any offense during Thursday afternoon’s game at PNC Park. That is, until outfielder Corey Dickerson launched a walk-off solo home run off of Alex Wilson with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Dickerson, 28, has been solid for the Pirates for the first month of the season. He’s batting .314/.348/.500 with a pair of home runs, 13 RBI, and 13 runs scored in 92 plate appearances. The Pirates acquired him from the Rays in late February in exchange for journeyman pitcher Daniel Hudson and Single-A infielder Tristan Gray.