Hughes is mixing a new slurve into his repertory.
I haven't seen it in action yet, so I'll be interested to see some video. When he first came up, remember that he threw that beautiful lollipop curve that broke 12-6 like Barry Zito's, but that always ended up out of the strike zone. He scrapped that in favor of a tighter curve, though at times in 2009 and 2010 we saw him play with a curve with a bigger break.
He also has a slider that he stopped using when he adopted the cutter.
This new pitch seems to be a fastball grip that just produces unexpected movement.
After his previous start, Hughes adjusted the grip he uses for his cut fastball. He experimented with it in the bullpen, and then again while warming up before his outing Wednesday, when he threw 25 or 30. The pitch comes in a bit slower but has a sharper break. It has its place, especially against right-handed hitters like Rajai Davis and Jose Bautista who struck out against it in the first inning. Because his old cutter has more side-to-side movement, it still has value as a pitch he can bore inside to left-handed hitters.
"If I have four or five pitches, and maybe two or three are working," Hughes said, "that’s better than having two pitches and only one of them working."
It's a game of adjustments, and for the first half of last season Hughes was untouchable, then the league adjusted. Now he's adjusting back. Good to see.