Phil Hughes shows improved velocity in impressive Double-A rehab start

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Phil Hughes had a very encouraging rehab start today at Double-A, throwing 6.1 innings of one-run ball before leaving to what Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York described as “a standing ovation.”

Mazzeo reports that Hughes’ fastball was clocked as high as 94 miles per hour and topped 91 miles per hour 48 times, which is a big change from the 89.3 miles per hour he averaged prior to being shut down in mid-April with arm problems.

General manager Brian Cashman and other members of the Yankees’ front office were on hand for the performance, which included eight strikeouts and 20 swinging strikes. He’s scheduled to start next week at Triple-A and another impressive outing could get him back into the Yankees’ second-half plans.

Brandon Belt, Jaime Barrios set new modern record with 21-pitch at-bat

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Angels starter Jaime Barrios and Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record with a 21-pitch at-bat in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Anaheim. Belt fell behind 1-2 and mostly kept fouling pitches off. The count ran full on the ninth pitch and Belt would foul off 11 more pitches before finally lining out to right field.

As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, the previous record was set on June 26, 1998 when the Indians’ Bartolo Colon and the Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez battled for 20 pitches. Gutierrez eventually struck out.