- During Hughes' dead-arm period in April, he was using the same spike grip on his curve that he had in 2010, but his lack of arm strength only allowed him to throw the ball in the low-70s, more than 4 mph softer than his 2010 average.
- After his reinstatement from the DL on July 7th, Hughes started throwing his curveball harder, though not as hard as he did in 2010.
- Before his July 17th start against the Blue Jays, Hughes announced that he would be switching to a new grip without a spiked finger in order to get a tighter break and more velocity, though the velocity didn't change a whole lot over his next three starts.
- Yesterday, Hughes showed a pitch that looks more like a power curve, averaging around 80 mph.
This chart shows the vertical spin deflection (the number of inches the ball drops relative to a spinless pitch) plotted against velocity for Hughes's curveball this year. You can see that the new grip (starting July 17th) gave the pitch less movement without much added velocity until yesterday.
What's strange is that the pitch he was throwing yesterday looks like what he was trying to throw since the 17th, but the velocity spike didn't come until now. My guess is that Hughes sticks with this new variation of the curve, since he's said that he's been trying to add velocity to it.